Cross Keys makes AP Honor Roll

Cross Keys High School in Brookhaven was one of seven DeKalb County high schools among more than 80 in the state named as Advanced Placement Honor Schools last month by state Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox.

Also on the list were the DeKalb High School of Technology North, which is scheduled to merge with Cross Keys before the start of the next school year, and Chamblee Charter High School, which some Brookhaven teens attend.

Advanced Placement (AP) classes and exams are administered by the College Board, which also administers the SAT. AP classes offer college-level learning, and students who receive a 3, 4 or 5 on AP exams often receive college credit.

“Georgia is making tremendous strides with Advanced Placement — not only in the number of students taking the courses, but in the number of students having success,” Cox said. “Much of that progress comes from the dedication to rigor and excellence at each of our AP Honor Schools.”

She named AP Honor Schools in three categories, based on 2007-08 results:

• AP Challenge Schools, which have fewer than 900 students but still offer AP classes in the four core areas of English, math, social studies and science.

• AP Access & Support Schools, where at least 30 percent of AP test takers are black or Hispanic and at least 30 percent of all tests taken result in a score of 3 or higher.

• AP Merit Schools, where at least 20 percent of students take AP exams and at least half of the tests produce a score of 3 or higher.

Cross Keys earned honor status in the challenge and access categories. High School of Technology North made it in access. Chamblee was recognized in the merit and access categories.

DeKalb School of the Arts was the only high school in the county to earn recognition in all three areas.

DeKalb launches anti-smoking campaign

The DeKalb County School System’s prevention intervention department has introduced ASPIRE (A Smoking Prevention Interactive Experience), a Web-based multimedia program to educate middle and high school students about the dangers of smoking.

The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Institute developed the program, whose objectives include:

• Evaluating the harmful effects of tobacco.

• Exhibiting the ability to access health services for yourself and others.

• Demonstrating the ability to make healthy choices.

• Using effective coping skills.

• Discussing the short- and long-term effects of health decisions.

Atlanta Girls’ School second in GISA contest

Atlanta Girls’ School students won six categories in the 2009 Georgia Independent School Association (GISA) 1 AAA Literary & Music Competition on March 4, and two other girls finished second.

Overall, the Buckhead school finished second among the teams and qualified for the state competition, which was held at Valdosta State College on March 17. Results were not available at press time.

The winners from the Atlanta Girls’ School: Elizabeth Barsalou, first place, girl’s solo; Sophia Hutton, first, domestic extemporaneous speaking; Meagan Knowlton, first, personal essay; Christine Lopez, first, humorous oral interpretation; Virginia Parker, first, dramatic oral interpretation; Amber Reed, Victoria Hill and Sophie Coffman, first, girls’ trio; Kelsey Dutcher, second place, piano; and Izzy Hendry, second, international extemporaneous speaking.

Recession slows Weber challenge

The Weber School looks as if it won’t meet its March 31 deadline to turn $3 million into $9 million, but the head of the Jewish high school’s capital campaign is confident donors eventually will rise to the challenge.

“Everybody knows that we’re going to raise the $3 million,” said Sandy Springs commercial developer Steve Berman, the capital campaign chairman. “We’re going to meet our end of the obligation.”

The Sandy Springs school accepted that obligation a year ago when benefactors Joe and Felicia Weber issued a challenge: If the school could raise $3 million toward its ongoing $32 million Weaving a Legacy capital campaign, the Webers would contribute an additional $6 million. But if the school falls short of its $3 million goal, the Webers won’t give any of the $6 million.

Berman said the school was ahead of schedule to meet the goal until the economy collapsed in November.

With about two weeks left until March 31, Weber had raised about $2 million from 110 donors. Most of the gifts came from school parents, while most of the money came from school board members, Berman said.

As part of a big push with the challenge deadline looming, Weber students produced a four-minute YouTube video, posted at about three weeks ago.

But with the goal still about $1 million away, the school is likely to extend the challenge period as long as it takes.

Berman is confident the school will meet the challenge. “People recognize the opportunity, that they can triple their dollars. They see that leverage, and they get excited about it.”