The College Board has announced that 32 2017 Deerfield-Windsor School graduates and 11 current seniors have earned AP scholar designation based on their performances on 2017 Advanced Placement examinations. AP courses are college-level courses taught in high school, and students can earn college credit with exceptional scores on the nationally standardized examinations.
Deerfield offers 12 different AP courses to high-achieving sophomores, juniors and seniors, according to school officials. To be designated an AP Scholar, a student must post passing scores on at least three AP exams. Scholars with Honor must pass four exams and have a prescribed average score, and Scholars with Distinction must pass at least five exams with an even higher average score.
While it's not unusual for the school to have a high number of AP scholars, what is unusual is for the students who took AP exams to have an 83 percent pass rate — the highest number in recent memory.
"In the past, we've usually hit in the mid- to high-60s passage rate," DWS Head of School Geoffrey Sudderth said. "Our belief is we have created a new environment for the kids and their teachers to interact."
The new environment includes lengthened classroom time, achieved by reducing the number of daily classes from seven to five and rotating the two remaining classes into a weekly rotating schedule.
"We don't actually feel like we have lost anything, we feel like we have gained volumes," Sudderth said. "Our belief is this is sustainable, and I think we'll just keep getting better. What we've got right now, our time is our currency. What we have bought with this currency is a bunch of bright and shiny new toys, and we haven't figured out how to play with them yet.
"The new scheduling worked immediately, but we still have some other areas of the scheduling we haven't figured out exactly how to capitalize on. We're just in year two, and we think it will take us three to five years to get it all figured out."
Director of Upper School Janet Guillebeau said the students have adjusted, and the teachers appreciate the extra classroom time.
"We have excellent teachers who do a fantastic job challenging our talented students," she said.
"When you provide high-achieving students with more time to process and greater access to their devoted teachers, you have the opportunity to achieve even greater results," he said.
Deerfield's 2017 scholars are:
AP Scholars — Olivia Bell, Haley Broadaway, Dara Bruck, Evan Campbell, Mary Larkin Cardin, MacKenzie Copeland, Flannery Daughtry, Hana Ghiathi, Alex Holloway, Zoe Hopson, Hill Houston, Meenal Joshi, Jasmin Lopez, Aaroh Patel, Sarah Perrine, Rob Pilcher, Sam Reeder, Uday Sappati, Lexie Ruth Sells, Holley Vildibill.
AP Scholars with Honor — Alexandria Michas, Caroline Owens, Grant Wollam.
AP Scholars with Distinction — Mary Rachel Bonner, Rohit Doad, Jackson Eubanks, Kendyll Freeman, Devan Hammack, Maggie Ricks, Hannah Takash, Joe Tondera, Caroline Willis.