MONTGOMERY COUNTY Advanced Placement Expands in Montco
I M P O RTA N T N E W S A B O U T O U R S C H O O L S & S T U D E N T S
Advanced Placement Expands in Montco Schools
When Phoebe Chen, Wissahickon High School senior, heads off to college, she will already
have five credits under her belt, as well as the preparation and experience to better manage the
academic challenges of higher education. Currently enrolled in Advanced Placement Program®
(AP) Japanese, Statistics, Economics, English Literature, and European History, Chen is one of
thousands of Montgomery County high school students that take advantage of AP courses.
Currently, all 21 public school districts offer AP classes which are approved by the College
Board. Over the past five years, many Montgomery County school districts have significantly
expanded access to AP courses, offering a wide selection of the 34 College Board approved
courses. Many districts offer more than 20 courses to their students. Through these courses,
each culminating in a rigorous exam, AP provides students with the opportunity to earn college
credit, advanced placement, or both.
“Preparing students to succeed in college is a top priority for Montgomery County public
schools. Through participation in college-level AP courses, our students earn college credit
and advanced placement, stand out in the admission process, and learn from some of the
most skilled, dedicated, and inspiring teachers in the world,” said Judy Clark, Superintendent
of Wissahickon School District. “Taking AP courses also demonstrates to college admission
officers that students have sought the most rigorous curriculum available to them.”
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Proposed State Budget 2012-2013
The Impact on Education
On Tuesday, February 7, 2012, Governor Corbett delivered his
proposed 2012-2013 budget. In reaction to the address, there has
been much discussion, debate, and dissection of what the proposed
budget will do for state funding of public education. The focal
point of the proposed budget with regard to education includes collapsing the basic education
subsidy, pupil transportation costs, non-public and charter school transportation costs, and
Social Security reimbursement into a single $6.5 billion Student Achievement Education Block
Grant. Pennsylvania school districts currently pay the full amount of the employer portion of
social security for all employees and then the state reimburses the districts half of that portion.
The concept of the single grant for funding is a shift away from formula funding and possibly
sets the groundwork for portability of student funds. To the extent that any costs within the
block grant rise, a corresponding decrease would need to be made in the other portions of the
grant. One of the uncertainties facing school district budget planning is the rising obligation for
funding of the Pennsylvania State Employees Retirement System (PSERS).
For school districts undergoing or contemplating construction projects, state reimbursement
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Lower Moreland Township
Upper Merion Area
This publication is produced by a
consortium of 21 school districts
and the Montgomery County
Intermediate Unit (MCIU).
“I can’t afford college” & Other Financial Aid Myths
Myth #1: You can’t afford college or the college of your dreams.
Many students and parents see the
tuition price, the cost of living in the
dorms, and the price of textbooks and
say there is just no way they could ever
afford it. But, did you know that two
out of three students get at least some
financial aid to help make college more
Students can receive a combination
of grants, loans, scholarships, or work-study jobs to help reduce the cost of college. So,
don’t ignore a college just because of its “sticker price.” If a college has higher tuition,
students often can get more financial aid to help cover the extra cost. For example,
parents with incomes below $60,000 aren’t expected to contribute to the cost of their
child’s education at Harvard.
Myth #2: You have to be very poor, very smart, or uncommonly talented to
qualify for financial aid.
Financial aid comes in many forms and from a number of sources: the federal
government, state government, the college or university itself, employers, churches,
synagogues, and many other organizations. When families take the time to discover all of
the possibilities, they can be surprised at the aid they may receive.
There is need-based aid for students who come from lower-income families and
merit-based aid for students who excel in athletics, drama, debate, instrumental music,
community service, and many other areas. Grants are available through the federal
government, your state government, and your school. The two most common federal grants
are the Pell Grant and the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant.
Scholarships come from all different types of businesses and organizations and
are awarded to students based on a huge variety of criteria. Some are even based on
unusual factors, such as physical attributes or specific interests/hobbies, including
scholarships for left-handed people, twins, duck callers, and golf caddies! One
good source for information is http://studentaid.ed.gov, where you can get Funding
Education Beyond High School: The Guide to Federal Student Aid. The guide is also
available in print at many public libraries and schools or by calling 1-800-433-3243.
Myth #3: You can get more scholarships by paying someone to search for you.
Scholarship scams are everywhere. Beware of any group or individual that guarantees
a scholarship if you pay a fee. There are many very good, FREE scholarship sources—
check out www.fastweb.com or www.finaid.org.
Myth #4: My child will pay his own way to college, so it doesn’t matter how
much money I make.
Most need-based financial aid is based on parents’ income and assets. Most schools
require students to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in
order to qualify for need-based aid. That form asks for income information similar
to what you need for your income taxes. You can find it by logging on to www.fafsa.
ed.gov. After submitting the FAFSA, students receive a report that shows how much
the government expects you to pay towards your child’s education.
Source: College View
“Through participation in collegelevel AP courses, our students earn
college credit and advanced placement, stand out in the admission
process, and learn from some of the
most skilled, dedicated, and inspiring teachers in the world.”
Wissahickon School District
AP continued from page 1...
Each AP teacher’s syllabus is
evaluated and approved by college
faculty from some of the nation’s
leading institutions, and AP Exams are
developed and scored by college faculty
and experienced AP teachers.
AP is accepted by more than 3,800
colleges and universities worldwide
for college credit, advanced placement
or both on the basis of successful AP
Exam scores. This includes over 90
percent of four-year institutions in the
In 2011, 4,819 Montgomery County
students in public schools took 8,923 AP
exams – an 8.5 percent increase over the
previous year. Of these students, 6,769
scored 3 or higher – comparable to As,
Bs and high Cs in college courses and
considered sufficient for college credit.
AP & the Cost of
• AP students are more likely
to graduate from college in
four years - students who take
longer to graduate at public
colleges and universities can
spend up to $19,000 for each
• AP helps students qualify
for scholarships - 31 percent
of colleges and universities
look at AP experience when
Six Montco Districts Make AP District Honor Roll
Six Montgomery County school districts – Methacton, Perkiomen Valley, Souderton, Spring-Ford, North Penn,
and Upper Merion – were selected for the 2011 2nd Annual AP District Honor Roll. These districts simultaneously
achieved increases in access to Advanced Placement Program® (AP) courses for a broader number of students and
also maintained or improved the rate at which their AP students earned scores of 3 or higher on an AP Exam.
"These school districts have achieved something truly remarkable. They managed to open the doors of their AP
classrooms to many more students, while also increasing the percentage of students earning high enough AP Exam
grades to stand out in the competitive college admission process and qualify for college credit and placement," said
Trevor Packer, the College Board’s senior vice president of Advanced Placement and College Readiness.
Notable Alumni of Montgomery County
What do Second Lady, Dr. Jill Biden; actor and comedian Bob Saget; and Israeli
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (pictured respectively) have in common?
They are all alumni
Dr. Jill Biden graduated from the Upper Moreland School District in 1969, then received her bachelor's degree from
the University of Delaware, master's degrees from West Chester University and Villanova University and a doctoral degree
from the University of Delaware. She taught English and reading in high schools for 13 years, and also taught adolescents
with emotional disabilities. Biden is president of the Biden Breast Health Initiative, a nonprofit organization that provides
breast health awareness programs. She married Joe Biden in 1977 and became Second Lady of the United States in 1998.
Bob Saget, a 1974 graduate of Abington School District, originally intended to become a doctor, but his Honors English
teacher, Elaine Zimmerman, saw his creative potential and urged him to seek a career in films. Saget attended Temple
University's film school and went on to have a highly successful career as a stand-up comedian, actor, and television host.
Although he is best known for his roles as Danny Tanner in Full House and host of America's Funniest Home Videos,
Saget is also known outside of television for his stand-up comedy routine.
Prime Minister Netanyahu spent his high school years in the U.S., where his father, historian Benzion Netanyahu, was
doing research. He attended Cheltenham High School where he was active in the debate club. After his graduation in
1967, he returned to Israel for military service. As his career in the U.S. and Israel shifted from business to politics, he
worked in the U.S. at the Israeli embassy and then as a representative at the United Nations. He has twice been prime
minister of Israel and is the leader of that nation's Likud Party.
Other notable alumni of Montgomery County’s public schools include:
• Lisa Scottoline, best-selling author/Philadelphia Inquirer columnist – Lower Merion School District
• Deanna Durante, NBC10 Philadelphia anchor woman/reporter – Colonial School District
• Jamie Moyer, former pitcher, Philadelphia Phillies – Souderton Area School District
• Jerry Spinelli, well-known children’s author – Norristown Area School District
• John Oates, musician (Hall & Oates) – North Penn School District
• Jim Cramer, Host of CNBC’s Mad Money – School District of Springfield Township
• Chuck Sheetz, animation director for The Simpsons & producer of What’s New, Scooby Doo? – Spring-Ford Area School District
Career-Tech Schools: Jumpstart to College/Career
ontgomery County students looking for a jumpstart to college, a
technical career, or obtaining specialized career training will find
ample opportunities through
their career-technical school.
Montgomery County has four careertechnical schools, which serve the 21
public school districts. In addition to
preparation for direct entry into the
workforce, career-tech students are
prepared to enroll in college studies.
Many two- and four-year institutions
offer programs of study which complement the occupational and technical areas
offered at the county’s career-tech schools.
Students are also able to earn state and national certifications relevant to their
programs. Each school offers a wide range of programs, some of which include
automotive technology, cosmetology, culinary arts, health occupations, and
computer technology. “In today’s changing economy, it is vital that students become
skilled in the use of new technologies,” said Michael Lucas, Director of North
Montco Technical Career Center (NMTCC).
The county’s career technical schools all boast close partnerships with businesses,
industry, manufacturing, and school districts, to keep their programs state of the art
to meet the demands of local employers.
All four schools now operate full-day and half-day schedules, enabling students to spend
half of their day focusing on their trade and the other half of their day at their home high
school studying core academic subjects. “Because of advanced placement, dual enrollment
and more, colleges place a lot of emphasis on the work students complete in high school.
Courses completed in career-tech are just as important,” said Lucas.
Altogether, the four career technical centers serve 2,603 students (2010–2011
school year). On average, 91.66 percent of students continue their education after
high school, find job placements in their field of choice, or join the military.
NMTCC serves approximately 1,050 students, grades 9-12, from Methacton,
North Penn, Perkiomen Valley, Souderton Area, and Wissahickon school districts.
In 2011, NMTCC completed a $12 million renovation including an 8,400 square
ft. addition with a 50 seat restaurant, 25 seat beauty salon, and a new service area
which allows visitors to access various services offered including baked goods, floral
items and graphic design services.
“The school has made a significant impact on the workforce of the county,
graduating over 10,000 students
during its existence, and providing
the foundation for Montgomery
County’s current labor market,” said
Lucas. Approximately 76% of their
students pursued post-secondary
education only, 42% of students
found job placement in their
field while 18% are employed and
pursuing post-secondary education.
Budget continued from page 1...
through the PlanCon process
factors into decision making.
The proposed budget places
a moratorium on state
reimbursement for any new
school construction projects.
School districts are now
assessing how to move forward
with project planning if this aspect
of the budget is approved.
One of the cost drivers for school
districts is the responsibility for
serving the needs of students who
receive special education services
in compliance with Individualized
Education Programs. For the fifth
year in a row, the proposed 2012-13
state budget provides no additional
state funding for special education.
As such, the burden of these rising
costs will continue to be borne by
the school districts. In addition, early
intervention has been a significant
program for early identification
and support of children for school
readiness. Although the proposed
budget does provide for a four
percent increase in state funding for
early intervention, the number of
identified students and the cost of
providing services to these children
have risen. Therefore, the rising
costs have surpassed the proposed
School districts must adopt their
2012-13 budgets on or before June
30 with or without final budget
funding amounts from the state.
The legislature is now working
through the entire proposed
2012-13 budget. Hearings and
discussions are being held so
legislators can understand and
appreciate the impact the education
budget will have on school districts
across the commonwealth.