The Milton School District was the only district in Rock County to land a spot on the ninth annual national AP District Honor Roll.

It is the second time the district has received the national recognition since the list began in 2011.

The district was one of 373 in the U.S. and Canada to make the list. To qualify, districts had to increase the number of students participating in advanced placement classes and increase or maintain the percentage of students who earned scores of three or higher (out of five) on advanced placement exams from 2016 to 2018, according to a news release.

The number of students in the Milton School District who took AP exams increased from 162 in the 2015-16 school year to 186 in 2016-17 and then to 210 in 2017-18, according to district data. The 210 who took exams in 2017-18 is 100 more than the number who took exams in 2008-09.

Exams are given after students participate in AP classes to determine whether students can receive college credit. Most exams require at least a score of three to receive credit, according to a news release.

Milton High School Principal Jeremy Billhorn said the increase in participation is a reflection of the school making efforts to increase availability of courses, dedicated staff and students wanting more academic rigor.

Of the 394 exams the 210 Milton students took last year, 279 tests—or 71 percent—earned a score of three or higher.

The number of exams with scores of three or higher also increased from 229 in 2015-16 to 235 in 2016-17 to 279 in 2017-18.

The district has increased access to advanced placement courses by eliminating some prerequisites and increasing course offerings, Billhorn said.

Sixteen advanced courses are offered at Milton High, and the school board voted Monday night to add two more: music theory and computer science principles.

Billhorn said having 18 courses offered is on the high side for districts of comparable size.

School staff members want to encourage students to challenge themselves and find the right balance for their academic, personal and extracurricular responsibilities. Some students take the challenge too far and need to be talked to about not burning themselves out, Billhorn said.

The school wants to attract all students to take AP courses, not just the “typical AP kid,” Billhorn said.

“When kids feel welcome to challenge themselves, that is special,” Billhorn said.

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