House Page School Gets Top Mark in AP History

Posted January 28, 2005 at 6:45pm

Despite the countless hours spent assisting lawmakers, students in the House Page Program have found time to hit the books.

Their schoolwork was celebrated Tuesday, when the College Board awarded the page school top honors for its success in preparing students for higher education.

The school ranked first in the nation among institutions with fewer than 500 pupils for the percentage of its student body who achieved “college-level mastery” — a score of at least three out of five total points — on the Advanced Placement exam in U.S. history.

“To find out that they had actually rated us the best small school in that category is fantastic,” said Clerk of the House Jeff Trandahl, whose office administers the page program.

The AP history course is a recent addition at the 66-student page school, added by officials just a few years ago.

“It’s a very small, very focused curriculum that the kids go through,” Trandahl said.

Students who enroll in the course must complete their core studies as well as additional class time required to prepare for the exam. A high score on the test can earn the students college credit.

“We have a school we can be very proud of,” said House Administration Chairman Bob Ney (R-Ohio).

The Ohio lawmaker, who praised Trandahl’s involvement with the program, acknowledged the accolade came as a pleasant surprise, adding: “It doesn’t surprise me that the school’s top notch.”

The House Page Board, which oversees the program, implemented a more rigorous application process for the fall 2004 semester that includes mandatory interviews and an admissions review board.

Ney, whose panel oversees the Clerk’s office, commended the students’ efforts, noting that in addition to carrying a full course load, the pages must also work full time in the House.

“The pages do a lot of work, a lot of school. It’s not something that’s terribly easy,” Ney said. “It’s a challenge, and the school’s an important part of it.”

Students at the school, which is housed in the Library of Congress’ Thomas Jefferson Building, begin each weekday at 6:45 a.m. and spend several hours in class before reporting to their assignments in the House.

Although the College Board’s AP exam in U.S. government and politics might seem to be a more likely category for the page school to ace, top honors went to the Academy of Notre Dame de Namur in Villanova, Pa.

But it’s not a shortcoming, House officials note, since that exam is typically taken by 12th-grade students, and the page school is made up entirely of high school juniors.

While the school offers students an honors course in government and politics, Ney noted, the pages also receive a challenging education outside the classroom.

“They’re living it every day. They’ve already got a doctorate in politics,” Ney joked.