MHS Advanced Placement Program earns Pacesetter Award
By Kris Leonhardt
The Marshfield High School (MHS) Advanced Placement (AP) program was recently recognized by the Wisconsin Advanced Placement Advisory Council as a 2017 Pacesetter with a Level 1 distinction for the 2016-17 school year. To obtain Level 1 distinction, 30 percent of the student body must take at least one AP exam and receive a passing grade for 70 percent of the exams taken.
“The old adage of ‘success breeds success’ summarizes the AP Program at Marshfield High School,” said Dan Dargenio, data analyst with the AP Coordinating Team. “We have extremely talented, hardworking, and veteran teachers who embrace the rigor and pace of AP and many have been teaching at MHS for 10 plus years. They have seen the hard work that went into building such an outstanding program and are proud to be a part of its success.
“Additionally, families in the Marshfield community who have had their sons/daughters take AP classes throughout their high school career, see firsthand the academic and financial benefits of the program. They in turn make sure that their younger children will be a part of the program and speak highly of it to their friends and family.
“Since the AP program has been very successful for over 15 years, it has become a staple of our high school and students, parents, community members, and teachers have a very clear expectation of themselves and the program.”
Dargenio, who has been working with the program for 10 years, said that Pacesetter award is a reflection of the work that was been put into the program to bring back a once-declining enrollment.
“A few years ago our program had declining enrollment, less students taking exams, and overall less engagement from certain cohorts of students. While our numbers were still much higher than the average school, they were lower that we have come to expect at MHS.
“MHS teachers, AP Coordinating Team, and administration put together a two year plan to address a few items we felt were causing these changes. To our excitement, student enrollment is back to our expected levels and it can be seen in this Pacesetter award.
“It was a difficult task to create such a robust program, we are finding that maintaining that excellence is just as difficult. It truly takes a team effort from all teachers at the high school, concentrated goals, flexibility, and buy in from a variety of cohorts to continue this amazing tradition. I think we got use to having academic success and just assumed this success would continue at MHS no matter what, we were quickly reminded that we must constantly be focused on student achievement, master level teachers, and communication in order to continue such as great tradition.”
A total of 387 students were enrolled in the AP program in 2017.
Marshfield was one of 17 Wisconsin schools to obtain Level 1 status.