Questar III BOCES has been awarded a 10-month grant under New York State’s virtual learning initiative, the Virtual Advanced Placement (VAP) Program, Round II. The grant will expand access to Advanced Placement (AP) and pre-AP classes and exams in participating component districts. This will allow more low-income students to prepare for college and careers. Questar III was awarded $534,261 in Race to the Top funds to develop online and blended courses.
The Questar III-led consortium will provided VAP courses to five participating school districts: Catskill CSD, Greenville CSD, Taconic Hills CSD, Germantown CSD and Rensselaer CSD. The consortium also includes Tech Valley High School®.
While the number of low-income students taking AP courses has increased from past decades, disparity still remains between low-income students and their peers in the enrollment and achievement of AP coursework. Often times districts are forced to cut their AP programs due to lack of resources or declining enrollment.
“This grant helps supports Questar III’s continuous mission of providing innovative education to not just some, but to all students,” said Questar III Deputy Superintendent Gladys Cruz, Ph.D. “It will provide many low-income students with their first opportunity to take AP courses, crucial to college and career readiness. It will also expand the course selection for those who already have access to these courses. This grant is the result of the hard work and collaboration of those participating in the consortium and we look forward to beginning implementation in the fall.”
“We’re extremely pleased to be part of this consortium. Online video conferencing and other formats provide alternatives to traditional learning and have become part of college and the rest of the adult world,” said Catskill CSD Superintendent Dr. Kathleen Farrell. “Because students can work at their pace, at their own convenience, those who previously had scheduling conflicts will now have the opportunity to take such courses along with and those who may have been worried about the pace of a traditional AP class.”
The grant will be used by Questar III to develop courses based on Apex Learning, a national provider of blended and virtual learning solutions for schools. It will also be used for professional development, the purchase of needed technology and support for the cost of AP exams taken at the end of the course.
Students will have the opportunity to take the following VAP courses: US History; English Literature Spanish Language; and Calculus AB.
For additional information, including a full list of districts and consortia receiving VAP Round II awards, please visit www.NYSED.gov.