Dadeville High School will put itself on the map at a national convention this spring. Principal Chris Hand and advanced placement teachers will head to Chicago in March to give tips on recruiting minorities and special education students for AP classes at two conferences, A Dream Deferred: The Future of African American Education and Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

“It’s going to get our name out there on a national basis,” Hand said. “It may open up scholarship opportunities to students here that we may not already have.”

The school entered a proposal to the College Board and was accepted to talk about recruitment and retention of minorities and students with disabilities and how having them changes the school’s culture. Hand will talk to other educators around the country at the event.

Hand wants students to have more class opportunities and believes the conference will help the school, such as offering more AP classes.

“It just changes the mindset of a school,” Hand said. “Not every student is going to take AP but how do we get every student to have that opportunity?”

Students with disabilities learn based off their individual education plans but the curriculum is the same at Dadeville.

“We’ve had special needs students in AP computer science,” Hand said. “We’ve had them in AP English language and AP English literature.”

Hand and teachers Wes Talton, Angela Spratling, Brad Bearden, Katie Bergman, Felicia Edwards, Rachel Climer and Pam Holloway will attend the conference.

“We’re excited about it,” Hand said. “We’ve never done this before. We’ve never spoken before in front of other (educators) unless it’s (Tallapoosa) County people. We’ll have a very informative trip I’m sure.”

Senior Anna Stephens said it is good the school is being recognized and getting more opportunities.

“It’s exciting to be a part of something like that,” junior Alexis Cooke said.

The school plans to take this presentation to the Alabama State Department of Education’s summer conference this year as well.

Junior Eric Ford said AP classes give him more opportunities and prepare him for college.

“I like (the school going to the conference) because I still have another year here and hearing there could be more choices for AP is really a good thing to hear,” Ford said.

The school began teaching AP classes in 2012 and was part of the A+ College Ready program, which promotes AP. The school teaches about five to seven AP classes per year.

“It just depends on what student interests are and what student requests are,” Hand said.

Teachers and Hand were required to participate in training courses, which they attended every summer. Now as a partner with A+, Dadeville has to fund its program training.

Dadeville received a banner award for its AP classes in 2015, according to Hand.

About 30% of the school’s 10th- through 12th-grade population takes AP classes, according to Hand. Junior Skylar Waldrep is taking AP English language and AP U.S. history because she wants to push herself.

“A lot of people are very intimidated by AP classes because I know when I first got introduced to AP biology it was just like, ‘Oh you’re going to have to take the AP exam. It’s going to be so hard,’” Waldrep said. “AP is really more in-depth. You expand your mind more and it’s not always down your throat; they’re not always throwing work at you. 

“I’ve learned more about history than I ever have. If you’re a hard-working student and you’re ready to learn, AP classes should be in your curriculum.”