Clear Creek ISD swaps Pre-AP course titles for Honors designation

As Clear Creek ISD leaders grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent adaptations to the educational experience, secondary students interested in more rigorous coursework will see some changes to their fall 2021 courses.

Pre-Advanced Placement courses for Clear Creek ISD’s intermediate and high school students will be called Honors courses starting in fall 2021 after the board of trustees voted to approve the name change unanimously in late 2020.

One of the main stipulations accompanying a Pre-AP designation involves CCISD either following exactly the curriculum set by the not-for-profit organization College Board or having to vet an alternate curriculum through the College Board’s process, which offers little to no flexibility for personalization, district leaders said in a Nov. 2 media release. The College Board is responsible for the curation and implementation of accelerated courses at schools across the United States.

“We try to make sure that students are finding their niche and where they’re going to excel,” said Glenda Holder, executive director of CCISD’s Gifted and Talented program, of accelerated courses and Gifted and Talented programming overall. “We really do encourage and work with our counseling department to encourage students that have an aptitude ... to go into [one of these pathways].”

Keeping the Pre-AP designation would not only be expensive—each Pre-AP course costs $3,000 per year—but would make the courses assessment heavy. That is in conflict with district philosophy, Holder said during an Oct. 26 board of trustees meeting. The course name change will not affect course material, she added.

The district offers more than 100 Pre-AP classes, including accelerated courses, for sixth through 12th graders. Students do not need to be part of a Gifted and Talented program to take accelerated or Pre-AP courses.

Nine other Texas school districts, including Katy, Pearland and Friendswood ISDs, have already shed the Pre-AP designation with similar changeover timelines to CCISD. This change will save the district about $278,000 annually, Holder and Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction Susan Silva said.
By Colleen Ferguson

Reporter, Bay Area

A native central New Yorker, Colleen worked as an editorial intern with the Cy-Fair and Lake Houston | Humble | Kingwood editions of Community Impact Newspaper before joining the Bay Area team in 2020. She covers public education, higher education, business and development news in southeast Houston. Colleen graduated in 2019 from Syracuse University and the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, where she worked for the university's independent student newspaper The Daily Orange. Her degrees are in journalism and Spanish language and culture. When not chasing a story, Colleen can be found petting cats and dogs, listening to podcasts, swimming or watching true crime documentaries.