More students get chance to sign up for A.P. classes

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Daraius Joseph, a junior at the Marie Curie School for Medicine, Nursing and the Health Professions, wants to become a diagnostician like the main character on the hit T.V. show “House,” which ended last year.

The chances of Daraius reaching that goal could increase as Marie Curie participates in the Department of Education’s (DOE) Advanced Placement Expansion Initiative to introduce more Advanced Placement (A.P.) classes in city schools, especially ones in neighborhoods the DOE described as underserved. Marie Curie will add new classes next year, while other schools including the Bronx School of Law and Finance have already started to offer new A.P. courses.

“I want to be able to finish college early and get my job early,” said Daraius, 16. “I’ll be ahead of the competition.”

He added he plans to take as many A.P. classes as he can next school year. Daraius is currently enrolled in A.P. U.S. History, which Marie Curie offers along with A.P. Biology and English. 

Principal Rodney Fisher said the school will analyze students’ Regents Exams results and gauge student interest to determine which A.P. classes it will introduce next fall. 

“We’re excited about the program and teachers are excited with the resources and additional support,” Mr. Fisher said, referring to training offered through the DOE initiative. “Although they see it as a challenge, it is one that they are up for.”

The A.P. Enhancement Initiative calls for new classes in the “STEM” areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The DOE said it will be the first time about 2,500 students at 55 schools around the city will have access to the new classes.

A recent report by the city’s Independent Budget Office found the average white or Asian student goes to a school with twice as many A.P. courses as the average black or Hispanic student.

Marie Curie seems to fit the pattern.

In the 2010-11 school year, 67 percent of the school’s 478 students were Hispanic and 28 percent were black, according to the most recent available accountability and overview report. 

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