RIPLEY - Just uttering the words “advanced placement” may sound intimidating for high school students. There are currently 175 students at Ripley High School who aren’t afraid of those words.

Ripley High’s advanced placement program has grown leaps and bounds since it’s inception in 1985 when two students took AP courses.

These courses allow students to get a taste of collegiate level coursework and earn credits towards their degree. If you take a peek at what a three-hour course at a university can cost, AP classes can also lessen the financial burden of parents as the courses are offered free of charge.

Funding for testing in AP courses are covered by the Jackson County Board of Education.

There are many reasons for the success of the program at Ripley. Principal Will Hosaflook and assistant principal Bev Shatto are very involved in the process and teachers like Barbara Heckert, who has taught AP courses at Ripley since the program’s inaugural year nearly thirty years ago.

At the Advanced Placement forum last Monday evening at RpHS, vice principal Shatto spoke briefly about the evening’s guest speaker, Karen Linville before introducing her to parents and students in attendance.

Linville, the coordinator for West Virginia Center for Professional Development spoke highly of Ripley High School’s commitment to the program.

“Students at Ripley have a tremendous advantage because of the administrations dedication to the program and the staff is well trained and always willing to help.”

Senior Ali Cunningham, the student council president, spoke about her positive experiences with AP classes, giving students someone they could relate to. Cunningham juggles three varsity sports and her demanding curriculum.

“I was never really interested in history until I took Mr. (Steve) Sayre’s AP history class. I am so glad I did now,” said Cunningham.

Hosaflook, a 1996 graduate of Ripley High believes that the forum, which he organizes with the help of his staff, is a tremendous tool for parents to understand how advanced placement courses can assist in the transition form high school to college and what to expect.

 “Parents want to be involved in their child’s education. Our forums allow us to enhance the culture at Ripley High School, said Hosaflook.”

Ripley High currently offers 11 of these courses and looks to expand on that number in the future.

“I am very pleased to offer this opportunity to our students. The program continues to strive and our vertical teaming has helped tremendously,” added Hosaflook.

“Vertical Teaming” is the process of Advanced Placement teachers working along side middle school teachers to help prepare students for the AP experience.

With over 100 exams passed this year, The Advanced Placement program at Ripley High School is sure to continue to grow and prepare students for the future that they all deserve.