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Detroit high school students are wrapping up the first week of Advanced Placement® exams this week and more than 100 of them got an extra boost before heading into the testing.

On Saturday, state Reps. Tim Kelly, R-Saginaw Township, and Sherry Gay-Dagnogo, D-Detroit, attended a student study session with National Math and Science Initiative CEO Matthew Randazzo. It was the third weekend study session for students from Cass Technical High School and Renaissance High School, both of which are in their first year of NMSI’s College Readiness Program.

Gay-Dagnongo, the Detroit Caucus Chair, welcomed Kelly to the school and district.

“I’m glad to see my colleague on the other side of the aisle, Tim Kelly, here this morning to see our babies that are working on a Saturday really hard and the staff here from DPS, despite all of the challenges we’ve had, working very hard on ensuring that we increase access to STEM to all of our students,” Gay-Dagnogo said. “This is what it’s all about: Increasing access and resources for our students to benefit in STEM so we can grow up and become adults and take on those professions that require a skill set in STEM.”

Scores of 3 or higher on the AP® exams’ 5-point scale – demonstrate mastery of college-level skills and knowledge and qualify students for course credit at most U.S. colleges and universities. Students heading to the military or workforce gain college-level experience in problem solving and critical thinking. Recent data show schools that complete the first year of NMSI’s program see the number of qualifying AP scores in math, science and English increase by an average of 67 percent — 10 times the national average.

“Rigorous coursework like AP can dramatically affect a student’s success in the 21st century workforce,” said Randazzo, a Detroit native. “DPS students and teachers have gone the extra mile this year, enrolling more students than ever before in AP math, computer science, chemistry and English. The student groups this morning were focused and determined. I know their hard work will pay off.”

Gay-Dagnogo, a former science teacher, said she was excited to see young women at the science study session.

“Young girls often times are sent a message early on in their academic career that they are just not good enough in math or that they are not as equal to their counterparts in math or science,” she said.

Kelly, chairman of the House Education Reform Committee and chairman of the Appropriations School Aid and Education subcommittee, said math and science are clearly important areas of study.

“You come down here and you find out this tremendous program is being operated, as Sherry mentioned – kids coming out, teachers coming out on Saturday to do test prep and hone their study skills,” he told WWJ 950-AM radio. “It’s tremendous to see.”

In addition to student study sessions – led by AP experts – NMSI’s three-year College Readiness Program provides extraordinary training and support for AP teachers, training for grades 3-12 teachers outside of AP to prepare students for those rigorous courses, mentoring for teachers and classroom resources.


The program is funded in Detroit by a Department of Education Investing in Innovation grant. Additional schools are scheduled to start the program in the 2017-18 school year.


About National Math and Science Initiative  

NMSI, a national nonprofit organization, breaks down barriers to access in education and prepares all students to graduate college and be career ready. Launched in 2007, NMSI’s programs improve student achievement and teacher effectiveness, particularly in math and science, through scalable solutions rooted in local partnerships. NMSI has received national recognition for programs benefiting school communities in 40 states and the District of Columbia, including NMSI’s College Readiness Program, Laying the Foundation Teacher Training Program, and UTeach Expansion Program. Learn more at nms.org.


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