Monday, April 14, 2008

D.C. school requires all students take AP English courses, exams

Daniel Gordon, AP English teacher at Bell Multicultural Senior High School in Northwest Washington, helps Hermis Santos, 18, left, and Lachance Ngonzo-Biyo. Most Bell students are from low-income families in which English is not the first language, but all must take AP English.
High school senior Manuel Ventura only began speaking English five years ago, but along with all of his classmates at D.C.'s Bell Multicultural School -- who are mostly from low-income households where English is not the primary language spoken -- Ventura took the AP English Literature test as a junior last May and will soon sit for the AP English Language and Composition exam. Only three of 226 students at the school achieved a passing grade on an AP English exam last year, but school administrators say the AP courses teach far more reading and writing skills than do remedial English classes. Ventura says: "I really think it is a great opportunity for people like me. I feel proud of myself." The Washington Post (

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