By John Toole
---- — PELHAM – The College Board put the Pelham School District on its honor roll.
Pelham was one of nine districts in the state to attain the honor, the only one in Southern New Hampshire.
The national honor recognizes school districts for increasing scores and student access to the Advanced Placement program.
The program lets students earn college credits for advanced academic studies, giving them exposure to university expectations and saving them money on higher education.
“We’re actually very pleased. This is our first time for doing that,” Pelham High principal Dorothy Mohr said of the honor roll designation.
The award is the result of several years effort by the school to encourage student participation, Mohr said.
More than 50 Pelham High seniors and juniors are taking Advanced Placement courses that culminate in a rigorous examination. The school typically graduates about 100 seniors.
The courses include English, Spanish, social studies, science, math and studio art.
“We’ve seen a steady increase in our numbers from when we started,” Mohr said.
About 20 students participated when the school launched the program a few years ago.
The College Board put Pelham on the honor roll because it increased student participation from 39 to 59 between 2010 and 2012, while improving exam scores.
AP classes are a big deal for students because of those college credits.
Mohr said they pay nothing for the AP class at high school, which is considered part of their normal courseload. They do pay an $89 fee for each exam.
Many, but not all, colleges and universities accept a good score on an AP exam as credit.
If students have to earn the credits in college, it would cost students or their families at least $1,000, Mohr said.
Pelham superintendent-elect Amanda Lecaroz said she was thrilled Pelham is one of only nine schools in the state to receive the prestigious honor.
She said this is one more example of the quality educational programming available to Pelham students.
The College Board said a record 539 school districts made the honor roll nationwide.
It is the third year the College Board has issued the designation.