Creating a culture of achievement: HHS administration and staff recognizes students for excellence in AP program


Before leaving home for college this August, a select group of recent Harlingen High School graduates opened their doors to a surprise visit from their former principals and teachers.

In support of their efforts to celebrate student merit on the Advanced Placement exam, HHS administration invited the students’ teachers to join them in the delivery and placement of signs in the yards of the students.

Students receiving this recognition earned a score of 3 or higher on three or more AP exams, earned a 4 or 5 on an exam in May 2015, or both.

“Since the seniors get their scores after they have graduated, it has always been difficult to acknowledge their accomplishment,” said Michael Gerleman HHS English Teacher. “I believe the signs are a great way to give these outstanding students the recognition they deserved. The signs show how much the school appreciates the efforts of these fine young scholars. I think it is a wonderful idea, and I am so glad I could participate.”

In the AP program, teachers can use their educational strategies to lead students further into advanced critical thinking. It also provides a national test by which to measure students’ results.

A score of 3 or higher on an AP exam gives students the opportunity to receive college credit, advanced placement or both from a college or university. According to the College Board website, most colleges and universities in the United States and institutions in more than 60 other countries grant credit and placement for AP scores or acknowledge AP scores in the admission process.

Anthony Hughes HHS English Teacher attributes the growth of the AP program at HHS to the hard work that the teachers put into their classes and the students’ attitudes towards the work itself.

“The students understand that there is a conversation that they have to take part in once they get out of high school in the world,” said Hughes. “I think that the texts that we are reading are helping students branch out to connect with the outside world. If they want to navigate it well, they have to get into this conversation. I think that’s the main thing that excites them about being in these courses.”

HHS administrators came up with the idea for the signs after attending the College Board’s AP Annual Conference in Austin, Texas, in late July.

“The idea of placing signs in the yards of students came from one of the sessions we attended. The presenter was from a high school in Chicago,” said Imelda Trevino Associate Principal for Teaching and Learning. “He discussed the importance of creating a culture of achievement in the school where academic excellence is expected, recognized, and celebrated. After the conference, the team met in early August to plan for the 2015-2016 school year and determined the best practices that we would implement on our campus.”

Administrators and staff will head out for another round of deliveries to current juniors and seniors this month.

Click here to view additional photos of students recognized in the AP Program.

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