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High performing inner-city students under-recognized

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Local urban classrooms contain students of varying academic skill level and are typically no different from their suburban and rural counterparts in this regard. There is a widely held assumption that there are more “at-risk” learners in socio-economically depressed environments and no one is disputing that here. It might surprise you that there are also a number of high performing inner-city students who are, at best, less visible next to their lower or non- performing peers with whom they share the school bus each day.

One group of high performing students in the regional inner city, enrolled in the Advanced Placement (AP) curriculum, are exceptional and commendable in that they have definite, maybe even noble, post-secondary plans after graduation. Ironically, however, these students, relatively small in number compared to those in outlying, non-urban school districts, tend to receive mere microscopic recognition in the face of the under-achieving and non-achieving urban majority, perpetually, if not always intentionally, featured in the unfavorable, popular headlines of the local newspapers.

Nonetheless, these humbly achieving AP students exist in inner-city education and, as any of their teachers will attest to, are pleasures to have in class. They strive to be outstanding and must adhere to above-average standards, dictated by the accredited College Board program. Against so many odds in their natural, day-to-day environment, can urban high achievers somehow find their way into the limelight while they are still in high school? Maybe not, but they surely are the winners in the end, long after the graduation party is over.

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