The Columbia Heights school district is the Advanced Placement District of the Year, for broadening AP course access and boosting exam performance.

Out of the 425 school districts in the United States and Canada who made the College Board’s District Honor Roll, Columbia Heights won the honor for small districts with fewer than 8,000 students. The district, which has 3,200 students, will receive an award of $10,000.

“This award is a testament to the incredible work of our teachers and staff who put student achievement as their number one priority,” said Superintendent Kathy Kelly in a news release.

From 2013 to 2015, the school district increased student AP involvement by 26 percent each year. In the same years, traditionally underrepresented minority AP students scoring a 3 or higher on at least one AP test shot up by 62 percent annually in the district. In 2015, 48 percent of all AP students scored a 3 or higher.

The district release noted that 47 percent or more of the AP students in the district are American Indian, African-American or Hispanic/Latino. Further, 67 percent or more of the district’s AP students qualify for free or reduced-price lunches.

Beena Raghavendran

Indian parents grade Farmington schools

The Farmington district falls short in meeting American Indian students’ needs, according to a resolution presented by a parent committee and approved by the school board on March 28.

In a letter to the school board, the group of five parents and two district employees recommended the district better represent Indian culture through artwork and sign­age written in native languages. They also suggested there be “more opportunities for students to explore their native heritage and connect with other American Indian students.”

This was the first time the American Indian Education Program Parent Committee requested action from the school board, said Barb Duffrin, educational programming director and a committee member.

“It’s very exciting. They had some terrific ideas,” Duffrin said.

Other recommendations included taking field trips to historical sites and to each student’s reservation, a mentorship program, guest speakers, tutoring, community outreach and a summer program including powwow visits.

The district hired a part-time Indian cultural liaison this year for the first time. Numen Smith is a member of the parent committee and is already working with students on Indian cultural activities.

The state provides funding for Smith’s position and requires any district that enrolls 10 or more Indian students to create an American Indian advisory committee. Each year by March, the committee must submit a resolution to the school board stating whether or not members approve of the programs offered by the district.

Erin Adler

East Ridge High finishes second in debate finals

East Ridge High School in Woodbury took second place Saturday in the finals of a monthslong international public-policy debate that began online and ended in head-to-head competition in New York City.

The three juniors — Kevin Bi, Bradley Cho and Alicia Zhang — fell to a team from Plano, Texas. Plano also defeated St. Paul Academy and Summit School in the semifinals.

East Ridge and St. Paul Academy qualified for the Elite 8 competition in New York after each winning three single-elimination contests involving the trading of written positions via e-mail.

St. Paul Academy was making its second straight Elite 8 appearance.

Anthony Lonetree