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Mass Insight Education Honors 11 Area Teachers for AP Work

BOSTON — Eleven teachers in Western Mass. have been honored with Mass Insight Education’s Partners in Excellence Award for helping students take advanced-placement (AP) courses with success as they prepare for college.

The winners include Melissa Ferris and Patrice Latrell, Taconic High School, Pittsfield; Carla Comeau and Jennifer Gaudette, Pittsfield High School; Jill Keenan, Jennifer Levesque, and Tawnya Tiskus, Westfield High School; Michelle Fontana, Christopher Rea, and Diana Sands, Ludlow High School; and Marissa Lapointe, Springfield Central High School.

The award recognizes 54 Massachusetts AP teachers for their outstanding contributions to student achievement and their dedication to college success during the 2014-15 academic year. The teachers were selected out of a pool of more than 600 AP teachers who participated in Mass Insight Education’s AP STEM and English program.

“The teachers Mass Insight supports in AP partnerships across the state are the backbone of the schools’ role preparing students for college success,” said William Guenther, president, CEO, and founder of Mass Insight Education. “We’re very pleased to recognize the AP teacher partners who have produced especially outstanding results with their high-school students.”

Mass Insight Education’s content directors selected the teachers based on their ability to increase their students’ access to AP classes, their students’ improved performance on the AP exams, and their students’ resulting college readiness.

The award recipients will be honored at Mass Insight Education’s Partners in Excellence Award Celebration on Tuesday, April 5 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at Seaport Hotel in Boston. Eric Waldo, executive director of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher initiative, will be the keynote speaker. Each award winner will be recognized for his or her achievement and will receive a check for $1,000.

Mass Insight Education (MIE) is a national nonprofit dedicated to improving student achievement and increasing college success through district restructuring and rigorous academic programs. This is particularly important within the urban ‘gateway’ communities in which MIE operates, as youth from economically challenged communities are not as typically afforded the personalized, high-caliber instruction that is provided in the AP environment.

Mass Insight Education’s AP STEM and English program encourages more students to take AP classes in an effort to increase their confidence while providing them with the academic skills they need to succeed in post-secondary education. The AP STEM and English program is a key part of MIE’s innovative College Success Campaign. Annually, more than 10,000 students at more than 75 Mass Insight Education partner schools take part in the program. These schools typically double or triple their enrollment in AP classes, and double the number of students earning qualifying scores on the AP exam.

To help students prepare for the AP exams, Mass Insight Education supports them in several ways, including hosting a series of weekend classes. The goal is to have students take an AP class as an introduction to the level of work they will need to do in college. The hope is that the experience inspires many to enroll in college who previously thought themselves incapable of that work. Getting a qualifying score earns them college credit, thus allowing them to finish college more quickly and at a lower cost.

Statistics show that 78% of Mass Insight Education students who took at least one AP math, science, or English course in high school attended a two- or four-year college after graduating high school. Ninety-three percent continued with two years of college, and 82% either graduated or are still in school four years after graduating from high school. Mass Insight Education also provides extra training for AP instructors to strengthen their teaching skills.

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