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Sleepy Hollow High Sees AP Enrollment Increases

SLEEPY HOLLOW, N.Y. – Enrollment in Advanced Placement classes has steadily increased at Sleepy Hollow High School over the past three years and since the program was created in 2000.

Principal Carol Conklin-Spillane said the increase is “impressive,” especially considering the other students taking college-level offerings from the State University of New York and Syracuse University.

“Our enrollment and participation has gone up from 93 students and 168 exams taken to 222 students and 461 exams,” Conklin-Spillane said during a recent Board of Education meeting. “This is in addition to other college-level offerings. That's an impressive increase in participation.”

Sleepy Hollow High School offers 18 separate AP courses, which Conklin-Spillane said is on the higher end in the region. Some classes are not offered every term because of budgetary reasons, she noted.

AP art and statistics classes are two examples Conklin-Spillane cited, noting they didn't reach tbe enrollment quotes of 15 that would have allowed the classes to be given.

Conklin-Spillane offered several reasons for the increase in participation, including a push from the program's creator, College Board. The High School's AP program is also open to all students, although Conklin-Spillane noted that the school does offer some placement guidance.

“Ultimately we believe it's a student's decision what challenges they're willing to take on,” she said, noting that the school will get teacher recommendations and assessment histories to help a student determine if they're ready for the rigorous coursework.

“We share with them openly about what the challenges and expectations will be and where there's a disparity or gap between them, we lay out what the risk is,” she said.

The high school usually recommends that students taking an AP course take the AP exam offered in May. Conklin-Spillane said the school doesn't stress high scores though because studies have shown that simply being in the class will benefit students.

There's a “really robust correlation in exposure to this work in high school” and success in college, she said, which fits nicely into the school's mission to make sure kids are college and career ready.

The program also has some challenges, Conklin-Spillane said. One is the fact that classes don't begin until after Labor Day. Conklin-Spillane said that means science AP classes have a hard time finishing their curricula before AP tests in May.

Test scores have fluxuated as well, Conklin-Spillane said, noting, “It really is a proportional shift that is dynamic and changes every year.”

Compared to state and global test scores, Conklin-Spillane said the school was “doing well.”

Sleepy Hollow High School hopes to expand its AP offerings and other college-level affiliations, Conklin-Spillane said.

Conklin-Spillane said the high school had looking into offering the the International Baccalaureate program, but found it was very expensive. The program also makes it difficult for students to enter at various points in their school careers unlike Advanced Placement, Conklin-Spillane said.

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