Rockdale County's high schools were were recently named 2011 Advanced Placement Honor Schools by Georgia State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge.

“We are proud of all of our schools for this accomplishment,” said Dr. Samuel King, superintendent of Rockdale County Public Schools (RCPS). “Research clearly indicates that students who take Advanced Placement courses are more likely to seek and complete higher education. Therefore, our goal is to see more students across all subgroups enroll and succeed in our Advanced Placement program. ”

Both Rockdale County and Salem high schools were recognized in the AP Access and Support category, which means schools with fewer than 900 students had students testing in the four core areas of English, Mathematics, Social Studies and Science, and again in the AP STEM Schools category, which means students tested in at least two AP math courses and two AP science courses.

"We are thrilled to be named a State AP Honor School for the second year in a row in two different categories,” says Tonya Bloodworth, principal at Salem High School. “This achievement was gained through the hard work of our students and teachers, but was inspired by the school system's ardent focus on working with students to achieve at their highest possible levels."

Heritage High School and the Rockdale Career Academy join RCHS and SHS in the category of AP STEM Schools. "I am very proud of our students for taking the most challenging and rewarding courses possible. It is always nice for others to recognize the hard work exhibited by our staff and students,” says Greg Fowler, principal of Heritage High School.

“We have expanded the AP courses at RCA to complement the Career, Technical, Agriculture, and Education (CTAE) pathways offered to students,” says Dr. Miki Edwards, CEO of RCA. “Providing this rigorous coursework strengthens their preparation for post secondary options such as entering the workforce, higher education, or joining the military. We are extremely proud of our students and faculty for earning this distinction.”

Rockdale County High School was also named in a third category, AP STEM Achievement, which means students tested in at least two AP math courses and two AP science courses and at least 40 percent of the exam scores on AP math and AP science exams earning scores of 3 or higher

“We have established different programs to insure the success of the students, from the AP tutorial center - to "boot camp" type student sessions,” says RCHS Principal Georgi Brown. “We also have established AP education nights for parents and students to gain a better understanding of AP rigor. Being recognized in three AP honor categories affirms that our efforts are working and our students are benefitting from it. We applaud the focus of our staff, students, and parents on raising the bar and achieving these goals. In addition, our Magnet program provides state-of the-art laboratories and coursework in the areas of science and mathematics for a streamlined approach to advancement in these areas.”

Advanced Placement classes and exams are administered by the College Board, which also administers the SAT. AP classes offer rigorous college-level learning opportunities to students in high school. Students who earn a three, four or five on the AP exams may receive college credit. RCPS offers AP courses at every high school, including the Rockdale Career Academy and Virtual Campus. Examples of courses include: U.S. History, World History, Economics, Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Calculus, Statistics, American Literature, World Literature and Art.

The 2011 AP Honor Schools are named in five categories, based on the results of AP exams:

- AP CHALLENGE SCHOOLS: Schools with fewer than 900 students with students testing in the four core areas of English, Mathematics, Social Studies and Science

- AP ACCESS & SUPPORT SCHOOLS: Schools with 30% of AP test takers that are African-American or Hispanic and at least 30% of all AP exams scoring 3 or higher

- AP MERIT SCHOOLS: Schools with at least 20% of students taking AP exams and at least half of the AP exams scoring a 3 or higher

- AP STEM SCHOOLS: Schools with students testing in at least two AP math courses and two AP science courses (AP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC, AP Statistics, AP Biology, AP Chemistry, AP Environmental Science, AP Physics B, AP Physics C, AP Computer Science)

- AP STEM ACHIEVEMENT SCHOOLS: Schools with students testing in at least two AP math courses and two AP science courses and at least 40% of the exam scores on AP math and AP science exams earning scores of 3 or higher.