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Elkhart Memorial rewards students and teachers for good AP scores

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Getting cash for good grades; that's the idea behind a pilot program for some high school students and teachers in Elkhart.

Since 2012, Elkhart high schools have been rewarding students for doing well on their advance placement exams. The future of this program had been in question, but we now know it will keep operating.

It's called the Advanced Placement Training and Incentive Program Indiana, also known as "AP-TIP-IN." It was a seven million dollar plan through the Department of Education to encourage more AP participation in Indiana schools.

But when federal funding for the program ended in May, Elkhart schools had a choice to make -- either drop the program or pick up the tab.

They decided to pick up the tab.

Heather Walker teaches two AP English classes at Elkhart Memorial and has been taking part in the AP-TIP-IN program for the past three years.

"Whether students pass the exam or not, they are being exposed to skills that will help them in their college literature programs," Walker said.

Since the pilot program began in 2012, AP course enrollment at Elkhart Memorial has more than tripled. Part of the reason: the cash the district is shelling out for students who excel on the exam.

But students say it's more about getting the college credit than getting the cash."AP classes go a lot more in depth and if college is as difficult as they always discuss, you need to work more and harder," said Daniel Weld, a senior at Elkhart Memorial. "I think AP classes are the best way to do that."

Now that the school district is funding the entire program, which has close to a $40,000 price tag, administrators say students will receive $55 instead of $100 if they score high enough on the AP exam.

Regardless of the payout, teachers and administrators say the knowledge the kids are getting is worth the price."We don't want this to be one of those programs that's going to fall away," said Allison Makowski, AP program coordinator at Elkhart Memorial. "We want to try and sustain this program and the best way that we can."

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