Board OKs New Award for High School Seniors

The Long Beach Unified School District Board of Education recently approved plans to honor high school seniors who go above and beyond regular coursework to take the most challenging classes. Advanced Academic Achievement Awards will honor seniors upon graduation, starting with the Class of 2005. Awards will include a special designation on student diplomas. The achievement awards are part of the school district’s series of high school initiatives designed to prepare more students for college and the working world. International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement (AP) courses have become increasingly important for college admissions and scholarships. Enrollment in AP courses has increased by 1,700 students districtwide this school year. The new awards were suggested during a recent Coffee with Chris, a regular meeting where employees share ideas with Superintendent Chris Steinhauser. Award criteria were developed by Poly High School AP teacher Steven Meckna, GATE coordinator Wendy Hayes-Ebright, Poly PACE director Dick Garretson, Millikan AP teacher Linda Faust, Lakewood counselor Cindy Vial, Jordan IB coordinator Steve Rockenbach and History Office program coordinator Kristal Cheek. Graduating seniors may be honored for one of three new categories: • Advanced Academic Achievement Recognition will honor students who take and pass with a grade of C or better at least one AP course before graduation. Qualifying students also must attempt at least one AP exam before graduation. • Advanced Academic Achievement with Honors will recognize students who take and pass with a grade of C or better at least three AP courses before graduation. Qualifying students must attempt at least three AP exams before graduation, and must pass one of the exams with a score of three or better before their senior year. As an alternative to these criteria, students also may complete all of the requirements for the nationally recognized International Baccalaureate Certificate before graduation. • Advanced Academic Achievement with Highest Honors will go to students who take and pass with a grade of C or better at least five Advanced Placement courses before graduation. Qualifying students must attempt at least five AP exams before graduation and pass at least two of the exams with a score of three or better before their senior year. As an alternative to these criteria, students may complete all the requirements for the International Baccalaureate Diploma before graduation.