Students participating in the A+ program this year will now have to achieve an ACT math subscore of 17 or higher to qualify for immediate benefits. The new requirement set by the Missouri Department of Higher Education will go into effect for the 2014-2015 school year.
The Fort Zumwalt Board of Education was presented with the new requirements to the A+ program at its Aug. 18 meeting. Board Member Renee Porter was concerned with the new ACT requirement set by the state.
“Sometimes students don’t test well, but they do well in college,” Porter said. “Students are really counting on those two years, and working really hard to get there.”
Dr. Jackie Floyd, assistant superintendent of personnel services, said students who meet all other A+ program requirements – with the exception of the new math requirements – can enroll in the post-secondary school on a probationary status. Students will be required to pay for the first semester on their own, but if a 2.5 grade point average is achieved that first semester students are eligible for A+ benefits the following semesters.
Floyd said students also have several opportunities to take the ACT, and the district offers online ACT prep classes.
In addition to a math subscore of 17 or higher, students must also achieve a proficient score on the end of the course Algebra 1 test. The A+ program also requires students to maintain a 2.5 grade point average, donate at least 50 hours of unpaid tutoring to students in approved settings, have a 95 percent attendance rate over the four years of high school, have good citizenship and attend an A+ school for three consecutive years. Participants who successfully complete the A+ program are eligible to receive reimbursement for college tuition at a public community college or trade school in Missouri.
“It’s a great way for kids to pay for their first two years of their college,” said Jennifer Waters, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction.
The A+ program has a goal of every high school student graduating and continuing to college, post-secondary education, or a high-wage job with workplace skill development opportunities. The program also sets standards so high school students complete challenging studies. The FZSD takes the program’s goal one step further with a goal of increasing the number of students graduating and continuing post-secondary education by one percent annually.
Other changes to the program this year, included the addition of Hope High School to the list of For Zumwalt high schools to offer the A+ program. Project Lead the Way and STEM were also added to the list of career paths this year.