In a rating of how well Florida’s school districts enrolled students this spring in AP, IB, AICE and dual enrollment courses that count toward college STEM majors, Alachua County and Monroe County beat traditional math and science powerhouse Seminole County for the top two spots.
This ranking includes AP courses in calculus, statistics, biology, chemistry and physics, AICE and IB courses in the same subjects and at a high enough level to earn credit for college courses listed as requirements for STEM majors, and dual enrollment courses in calculus, statistics, biology, chemistry and physics that are listed as requirements for STEM majors.
The “enrollment rates” shown below are calculated by summing the district-wide enrollments for the courses included, dividing the sum by the number of high school students in the district and multiplying by 1000. Thus, the enrollment rate represents the number of course enrollments per 1000 high school students.
District enrollment numbers were available on the Florida Department of Education web site.
In a ranking of districts based on a much broader range of STEM high school courses published by the Orlando Sentinel last summer, the top three districts were Seminole, Brevard and Leon Counties. In that ranking, Alachua was ranked ninth and Monroe County eighth.
However, Alachua’s enrollments in the highest level STEM courses – the ones included for the present ranking – have not changed much since Spring 2014, the semester on which the Sentinel rankings were based.
In contrast, Monroe County’s second place finish here is the result of dramatic growth in AP enrollments since 2014, particularly in AP Statistics. This growth was driven by the district’s participation in the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) College Readiness Program that provides students and teachers with incentives for success in AP courses in math, science and English courses.
Monroe County was the first Florida district to participate in the NMSI AP program. Districts in 26 others states had participated prior to Monroe County’s entry into the program. Monroe’s participation was funded in part by a grant from the Department of Defense because of the large population of students from military families in the district’s high schools.
Bay and Escambia Counties have just joined the NMSI AP program, and the Department of Defense is once again providing substantial funding in both districts. Last week, Jill Biden participated in a ceremony marking the entry of Bay and Escambia Counties into the program.