North Kingstown School Department is one of 367 districts in the country to received honors from the College Board for its Advanced Placement course offerings and high scores.
The district’s increase in the percentage of students with high test scores and accessibility to a variety of AP courses earned it a spot on the College Board’s 2nd Annual AP Honor Roll.
“It’s a huge honor for us,” said Principal Dr. Thomas Kenworthy. “I’m extremely happy that we received the recognition and I think it speaks volumes for our students and staff.”
Since 2009, 75 percent of AP students at North Kingstown scored a 3 or higher (a score most U.S. colleges and universities accept as “passing”) on the exam. This year, that figure increased to 79 percent. The number of students taking the AP exams has jumped from 133 to 218 during that time.
Part of North Kingstown’s expansive offerings and high student participation in the exams is due in part to its large student population. With 1,600 high school students (including 200 from Jamestown), North Kingstown eclipses other comparable school districts like Barrington (roughly 1,142 students), East Greenwich (roughly 759 students) and South Kingstown (1,058) in terms of size.
“Being a large school has its challenges and rewards,” said Kenworthy. “One of the benefits of that is we are able to offer more, like AP courses.”
North Kingstown, the only Rhode Island school district on this year’s honor roll, offers 12 AP courses – biology, calculus, environmental science, music theory, physics, psychology, statistics, art, U.S. history and Spanish – which have survived tough budget cuts in recent years, even seeing increases in the variety of courses.
With an and , Kenworthy is unsure of what the future will hold for North Kingstown High School’s AP offerings.
“It’s one of those things we’re very proud to be able to offer, but it’s also one of those things that does come up in conversation when we go into budget discussions,” said Kenworthy. “We’re about to go into a very difficult budget year.”
l, Superintendent Dr. Phil Auger forecasted a $2.9 million shortfall for the school district. To make up the shortfall, Auger presented a list of potential options for cuts and changes – including raising the minimum enrollment for AP courses.
“The items on the list, I will do everything I can to protect because I feel they are critically important,” said Auger.
For Kenworthy, the national recognition for NK’s AP offerings could not have come at a better time.
“It reinforces that we’re trying to do the right things as a community and a school,” said Kenworthy.