By Andrew Edwards
Tom and Andrea Forrester are leading with distinction in and out of the classroom.
As the annual fall AP English convention gets ready to take place in mid-October, the two Prattville High School teachers are preparing to be given the “Beat the Mean” award for the fourth straight year.
This award is handed to teachers at the convention who “give a little bit extra” and beat the national mean in all categories of the AP language and literature tests. Last year, Tom and Andrea were only two of six AP English teachers who received the award in the entire state.
All AP exams are scored on a 1-5 scale, and most universities will accept a three or higher for college credit. Over the last five years, the Alabama qualifying rate, or students who scored a three or higher, for AP literature was at 39 percent while the average at PHS over that same time period is an astonishing 80 percent. Tom, the AP literature teacher, can have this success attributed to him.
And it doesn’t stop there.
The Alabama qualifying score for the AP language exam has been maintained at 39 percent over the past five years. Andrea, the AP language teacher, has helped her students own an incredible 82 percent average during that time.
When asked about her awards as well as success in the classroom, Andrea responded, “Winning the “Beat the Mean” award is such an honor because it showcases the incredible achievements of the students I have the pleasure of teaching, validates the long hours of grading and working and proves without a shadow of a doubt that our AP program is one of the best in the state.”
The convention, which is funded by the A+ College Ready grant, allows for national presenters from all across the county to meet with the Alabama AP Language and Literature teachers. From there, the presenters and teachers collaborate and try to design different strategies to help raise the score of their students’ AP tests. The ultimate goal for the convention is not only to raise scores but to find ways to grow the pool of AP students from school to school.
Tom and Andrea are not just beating the mean, but rather they are setting the bar to new heights. Their love for what they do has paid extraordinary dividends and has ultimately propelled them and their students to excellence.