DELAND —The district does not comment regarding personnel issues or on-going professional standards investigations until after information is available to the public. Nor does the district publish the results of an investigation or post them. After an individual acknowledges receipt of a personnel action resulting from a professional standards investigation, a report of the action is available to the public through the standard public records request procedure.
Because several media outlets have made public records requests for the information, and the ten-day time period has elapsed, it is an appropriate time to comment on how we will address offering the students at Mainland High School, who completed the AP Seminar Course, an opportunity to take or retake the official AP exam.
A letter is being finalized and school messenger calls will go out to each participating parent/student which outlines an opportunity to enroll in an elective Research course. The standards for this course will be addressed through incorporating the basic content of the AP Seminar course as well as other support features.
Successful completion of the course will earn participating students an elective credit, and at the end of the course the students will be offered the opportunity to take the official AP Seminar exam at no cost. Additionally, the sample population who already sat for the official exam, will be given the opportunity to retake the AP exam if they scored a 1 or 2. A score of 3 or above on a 5 point scale may qualify for college credit.
The primary reason for the preparation and retake opportunity is that the Pilot Program offered at Mainland failed to make it clear to parents and students that only a sample of the 400 plus students enrolled in the course would be administered the official AP exam, while the rest of the students would receive a school-based end-of-course exam.
Benefits that all students enrolled in this course received included participation in a rigorous course earning weighted high school grade point average (GPA) credit, as well as the meaningful curriculum and instructional experience. However, the fact that the students and parents were unaware that not all students would be offered an opportunity to take the official AP exam cannot be justified, and must be addressed to the benefit of the students.
Each family will be informed if they were part of the group who took the AP exam or were part of the much larger population who took the school sponsored end-of-course exam. They will then make a decision regarding participation in the Research course which comes with an opportunity to take the AP exam in May of 2020.
We are in the final stages of confirming the content of the parent/student letter with the College Board, who sponsors, the AP examinations. It is anticipated the letters and calls will go out to the families by July 19.
Enrolling in the Research Course will require a change in the electives for which students have already registered. Students and families may choose not to change their schedules. Others will be excited to have the opportunity, and we hoped that the extra preparation will give them an even better chance to score a 3 or above on the AP exam in May.
This Pilot Program has been discontinued for the 2019-2020 school year and freshman schedules are being revised.
Regarding personnel actions, one individual is no longer employed with the District and the other has indicated they plan to appeal the actions taken by the Professional Standards Committee. If such an appeal occurs, it will be through the office of the Superintendent. The District Professional Standards decision does not prevent or encourage the state to consider action. At this time, I know of no on-going investigation from any source on the specific matter of the Pilot Program.
Superintendent of Schools
Volusia County Schools