Our Business Is Education -- Scholars Program

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In the Sept. 11 issue of the Roundup, The stage was set to help prepare our children for their future. The Arizona Academic Scholars Program (AASP) is designed to provide the foundation for each of our children to be successful in the global workplace.

Technology is driving significant changes in what will be required to function as citizens of the future. When I went to high school, typing on a manual typewriter was a recommended course. Today, it is no longer necessary to know how to type, because computer software is available that will transfer the spoken word to a word processing document.

So, as long as we can speak in an understandable manner, there is no reason to be proficient in typing. Notice however, that it will be necessary to be proficient in oral communication; we must be able to speak in a language that can be understood by business associates throughout the world. This is why the AASP has identified 4 credits in English (1 through 4) and 2 credits of the same second language as qualifications to be an Arizona Academic Scholar.

Last year 66 Payson High School (PHS) juniors and seniors took the American College Testing (ACT) exam out of the 313 juniors and seniors. So roughly 21 percent took the ACT exam. Although the averages indicate a passing score for English, reading, and math, no state's average exceeded a passing score for science. This brings us to why the AASP has identified 3 credits of science (biology, chemistry, and physics) as qualifications to be an Arizona Academic Scholar.

Being successful in a global economy requires working with people from many nations and therefore many cultures. An understanding of history and economics is essential to conversing with and understanding these other cultures. AASP has identified 3 credits; 2 -- from geography, world history, U.S. history, U.S. government/Civics, and 1 -- economics as qualifications to be an Arizona Academic Scholar.

Americans have been identified for many years as being significantly deficient in mathematics. It is estimated that over 50 percent of post-high school students require math remediation before continuing with college level math. The ability to successfully handle personal finances alone requires a certain math skill. The AASP has identified 3 credits (Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2) as qualifications to be an Arizona Academic Scholar; and recommends a fourth year of math.

In addition, it is necessary to earn a grade of "C" or better in each of these identified courses; and to meet all of the other graduation requirements in order to graduate with the Arizona Academic Scholars' endorsement on a diploma.

Let's take a moment to recap what is required to be considered a Payson Arizona Academic Scholar.

  • 4 credits in English (1 through 4)
  • 2 credits of the same second language
  • 3 credits in science (biology, chemistry, and physics)
  • 2 credits from geography, world history, U.S. history, U.S. government/Civics
  • 1 credit in economics
  • 3 credits in Math (Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2)

This is a total of 15 credits.

A PHS student is required to register for seven (7) classes each semester until the last semester of his/her senior year. Each class could count as 1 credit. This curriculum provides each student with the opportunity to earn 28 credits. The AASP requires 15 to qualify, leaving 13 credits available for the other graduation requirements, which for Payson is: 1 credit in either Fine Arts or Career and Technical Education; and 1 credit in Physical Education. So a student who follows the AASP only has 17 credits that are identified. All other credits, which could be 11, are electives.

While the Grade Point Average (GPA) continues to be a consideration by universities, its value is being overshadowed by the type of courses taken. Universities are beginning to recognize that a student who has a high GPA but who has used Academic Learning Hour, Teacher Aide, and other easy "A" courses to generate that high GPA have a much lower success rate than those "C" students who have taken courses with substance.

The AASP is designed to encourage and promote the success of students who earn "C's" in rigorous courses, courses with substance; and universities are beginning to give preferential consideration to those students who take the more substantive courses.

For additional information or to offer your assistance with the AASP, please contact me at rmeyer@pusd.com.

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