Advanced Placement Classes at PCHS Explained at BOE Meeting

The October 3rd Pocahontas County Board of Education Meeting was held at Pocahontas County High School (PCHS.) During that meeting, Jennifer Nail cook explained how the Advanced Placement (or AP) classes at the school worked, and then talked specifically about the Computer Science AP courses.

Cook explained the difference between AP classes and Dual Credit classes. The class syllabus for each AP class must be approved by the College Board, which ensures that the college credits awarded for each AP class a student passes are accepted at all College Board Accredited colleges, whereas Dual Credit courses are not certified by the College Board and it is up to each college to decide if they will accept the credits from Dual Credit classes. Another difference is that high school teachers only need to take a fairly short training class to be permitted to teach AP classes, while teachers of Dual Credit courses must have earned 18 college credit hours in the specific subject, they will teach their dual credit classes in.

She also explained how AP classes are graded. Instead of receiving a letter or percentage grade, students who take the test at the end of their AP class are scored on a 1 to 5 scale, with scores of 3, 4 or 5 passing, while scores of 1 or 2 are failing grades. Students, however, can elect to not take the state college credit test at the end of the course.

Regarding PCHS AP Computer Science, there are two courses offered.

  1. Computer Science Principles, which is basically an introduction to computer science, and while it does cover some basic coding, it also covers how computers work, cyber security and principles of data management. This course is recommended for students who probably won’t major in Computer Science or other STEM areas, but who can use the college credits they receive as elective credits.
  2. Computer Science A, which is designed for Computer Science Majors, Engineering majors, Math Majors or other STEM course majors. This course is only offered at PCHS every other year since there are not a lot of students taking it here.

Justin Dilly talked about the AP Physics courses. He said this is a difficult class but 60% of his students who took the test at the end of the course last year earned a passing grade (a 3, 4, or 5) and received the college credits for a Physics 1 class, and one student actually passed with a grade of 5, Dilly said that student is now taking an Honors Engineering Physics class at Ohio State University, and has one of the highest grades in that course.

Chris Sutton said he teaches two AP calculus courses at PCHS. One is a basic course called the Calculus A course, which if passed will give a student credit for a College Calculus I class. The second course includes Calculus A and B, and if passed will transfer the college credits for both Calculus 1 and Calculus 2 college courses. He said that 100% of the students who take the course but either don’t take the test or don’t pass it, still pass their Calculus 1 and Calculus 2 courses they take in college.

PCHS also offers an AP Literature and Composition course and an AP Spanish course.

Also at the meeting, Superintendent Lynne Bostic offered special recognition to staff members who go above and beyond their normal duties. These included:

  • Jenifer Nail Cook and Casey Griffith, Math Teachers, who have stepped up to help the school band.
  • Aaron Pugh, who stepped up to help Football Coach Brad Carpenter at team practices.
  • And 9 staff members who stepped up to work with the Science and Reading Initiative.

Riley Pollack the Student Representative to the Board said the PCHS Student Council suggested that a lot of high school students have an idea of the career they want after graduation, but are lost about how to achieve their career goals, so successful alumni in various careers should be brought in to help guide students in selecting the classes and making the decisions which will help them obtain their career goals.

To see the list of personnel actions, all of which were approved at this meeting, click this link to the Official Agenda 10-3-23 Official BOE Agenda PDF

Story By

Tim Walker

Tim is the WVMR News Reporter. Tim is a native of Maryland who started coming to Pocahontas County in the 1970’s as a caver. He bought land on Droop Mountain off Jacox Road in 1976 and built a small house there in the early 80’s. While still working in Maryland, Tim spent much time at his place which is located on the Friars Hole Cave Preserve. Retiring in 2011 as a Lieutenant with the Anne Arundel County Police Department in Maryland, Tim finally took the plunge and moved from Maryland to his real home on Droop Mountain. He began working as the Pocahontas County Reporter for Allegheny Mountain Radio in January of 2015.

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