An AP Art class has been approved as the first grant from the foundation’s Lydia Poole Barker Memorial Fund. The funding will allow the school’s art teacher to apply for training in March and to offer students AP drawing next year.
The school also plans to expand its science curriculum by adding an AP physics course next year for sophomores who have completed Algebra and Honors Geometry.
Westport High School Principal Cheryl Tutalo said that, in January, the school applied for funding from the Massachusetts Math & Science Initiative to pay for the training of a teacher to offer the advanced physics class. The school expects to get word on its application this spring. However, should the initiative decline Westport’s application, the Education Foundation will step in to fund the training.
“The foundation has been key in our ability to provide the training for the teachers,” Ms. Tutalo said.
With the addition of AP physics and art, Westport High will be at the national average for AP offerings at a high school. The school currently has AP courses (for juniors and seniors) in English, calculus, statistics, U.S. history, biology and psychology.
“The benefit (of AP classes) to students is to clearly make them more college ready,” Ms. Tutalo said, adding that statistics show that many students struggle in their first year of college because they are ill-equipped to handle the workload that college demands.
She also said that the training teachers receive for AP classes isn’t limited to those advanced courses.
“They can use that training in all of their classes,” she said.
The Westport Education Foundation is a community-based organization which raises private funding for innovative academic enrichment programs to enhance the core curriculum in the Westport Community Schools.