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CMSD joins national push to bolster AP

CMSD has joined a national effort to equip students for high-level instruction in math and science.

The nonprofit National Math and Science Initiative has received a $20 million federal grant that will bring its College Readiness Program to select high schools in Cleveland and nine other districts across the country.

NMSI was launched in 2007 to address a decline in the number of students prepared for careers in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM. Donors such as Exxon Mobil and the Bill and Melinda Gates and the Michael and Susan Dell foundations have provided support.
The College Readiness Program prepares students, particularly those who are underrepresented in the fields, for rigorous math and science instruction and for Advanced Placement courses in math, science and English.

“This is a proven product that has produced a dramatic increase in the number of students passing AP exams,” said Gregg Fleisher, NMSI’s chief academic officer. He said NMSI chose Cleveland because of Chief Executive Officer Eric Gordon’s interest in participating.

NMSI will select as many as 10 schools based on criteria that include course offerings, school culture and enthusiasm for the program.

For three years, schools and students will benefit from training and mentoring for teachers, equipment, supplies, financial assistance in paying exam fees and Saturday test preparation led by outside experts. Some schools will begin the three-year period this fall, while others might start the following school year.

CMSD also will receive help constructing an AP and honors pipeline through NMSI’s Laying the Foundation program. A four-day summer workshop will show teachers in third through 12th grades strategies for increasing the rigor, relevance and depth of their instruction.

“This program will be extremely beneficial in our efforts to build a solid foundation in middle school years and better prepare our scholars for the rigor of AP courses and the future demands of college curriculum,” said Mary Ellen Carras, CMSD curriculum and instruction manager for secondary gifted education, AP and college and career readiness.

The other districts covered by the grant are Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, Oakland, St. Louis, the Noble Network of Charter Schools in Chicago, and the Bismarck, West Fargo and Mandan districts in North Dakota.

CMSD currently offers AP courses in 18 subjects spanning 18 high schools, with enrollment of more than 1,200. The District will hold an informational program for students and families interested in advanced placement and honors courses at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 23 at the Jane Addams Business Careers, 2373 E. 30th St.