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Technology bridges the gap for college prep classes across Tennessee

More than 86% of high schools in the state now have free access to Advanced Placement or AP classes, allowing kids to earn college credit early.
Tennessee's AP Access for All expands to 86% of high schools
Published: Dec. 8, 2021 at 6:44 PM EST
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SEYMOUR, Tenn. (WVLT) - More than 86% of high schools in the state now have free access to Advanced Placement or AP classes, allowing kids to earn college credit early.

Before this semester, students could only take the classes that their high school offered. But now 15 AP classes are offered virtually through Tennessee AP Access for All.

If they don’t have a class such as AP Calculus at their school, they can ask their counselor to find them a school that can offer the credit virtually. This was the case for Sadie Kiel, a junior at a school in Memphis.

“I feel like I’m learning a lot and it’s definitely pushing me out of my comfort zone, but it helps so much that Ms. Whaley is there and we have so many resources,” said Kiel.

Students take the class whenever and wherever they can, for some it’s late in the evening, others, like Kiel, have a devoted study hall period for it.

The lesson plans are created for students, but teachers like Sherry Whaley grade their assignments, give them feedback and developed review videos.

“That was really scary at first,” laughed Whaley. “I have to admit it was kind of scary at first when I realized I had students like in Memphis. But it’s also exciting though to be able to reach outside of just this community.”

Whaley teaches five classes in person at Seymour High School, but in her 29 years of experience decided to add something new to her plate this year by teaching in this program.

“When I first looked at it I thought what a great opportunity like for students who don’t have it in their schools,” said Whaley.

She teaches Kiel virtually.

“It shouldn’t matter where you live. You know all of the students deserve the same opportunity to prepare them for their next step,” said Gina Pavlovich, program director for the Tennessee AP Access for All .

Some students try to get college credit, others just want the experience of taking rigorous classes. Regardless, the program is free for both students and schools.

Whaley decided to teach for the program to earn additional income.

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