The Achievers

“The Achievers” sounds like a television show title, does it not? Maybe it should be. It certainly would have the stars.

In this reference, The Achievers relates to about 1,200 students attending Shelby County (Tennessee) schools taking classes which can earn both high school and college credits. Some of these students enter college with sophomore credits, a few even as rising juniors, according to Shelby County Schools.

The route taken by these scholars varies. Those paths include Advanced Placement, Dual Credit, or Dual Enrollment courses. These courses are offered in one form or another at 29 high schools in the Shelby County School District, which operates 31 high schools.

To get the college credit, which can be dependent on the acceptance by individual colleges, the student does not just have to barely pass the class, but must make a higher grade, usually an A, B, or C.  The barely passing mark of “D” will not do for the post-secondary school credit. Administrators report that 94% of the students enrolled in these advanced courses earn the passing grade qualifying them for the college credit.

From time to time you may have heard of a high school student with a grade point average (GPA) above 4.0 and wondered how that can be when, traditionally, an A, the highest grade, equates to 4 points. Advanced courses can be the route to a higher GPA. For example, a grade of A in an Advanced Placement course earns the student five points in the Shelby County system.

This observer over the years has noted that in schools with an overall poor academic performance in the Shelby County School District, and before the merger also Memphis City Schools, there were at least a small group of students who seemed to excel. Many of these may take advantage of these special course offerings to get college credit while still in high school. These are the performance stars in The Achievers.


One thought on “

  1. Point well taken. How many more students in poorly-performing schools might achieve if schools were allowed/encouraged to establish “safe zones” for those students who demonstrate their desire for the benefits of education by their behavior?

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