(a) The purpose of this section is to provide honors and advanced placement programs to meet the needs of students who have the potential and desire to complete curriculum more demanding than that offered in the regular classroom for their current grade level. Honors programs are those programs offering courses to expand the academic content in a given program of study and may include but shall not be limited to research and in-depth studies, mentorships, content-focused seminars, and extended learning outcomes instruction in the content area. Advanced placement programs are those programs offering classes which are advanced in terms of content and performance expectations of those normally available for the age/grade level of the student and providing credit toward graduation and possible college credit. Advanced placement classes also include those recognized or offered by the college board, postsecondary institutions and other recognized foundations, corporations or institutions.
Curriculum approved under this section shall be designed to advance the achievement of students in the subject area or areas in which the student has achieved at least two of the following three criteria: (a) Demonstrated exceptional ability and interest through past performance, (b) obtained the prerequisite knowledge and skills to perform honors or advanced placement work, and (c) recommended by the student's former or present teachers. Honors and advanced placement curriculum may include advanced placement courses offered through the college board or other public or private foundations, corporations, institutions, or businesses whose courses are generally accepted as leading to advanced placement or standing in a postsecondary institution, accelerated instructional courses offered via satellite and other courses and arrangements, approved by the state board, which provide students an opportunity to advance their learning above that offered through the regular curriculum. To the maximum extent possible, honors and advanced placement courses shall be taught by a regular classroom teacher. Such classroom teacher shall have adequate knowledge in the subject area for the instruction of such course. If a teacher, licensed by the state board, with adequate knowledge in the advanced subject area is not available, an adjunct teacher or other qualified person may be employed, contracted for, or shared between schools to instruct such course: Provided, That the position shall be posted annually prior to the beginning of the school year immediately following the school year in which the adjunct teacher or other qualified person is employed. The state board may grant waivers to existing certification requirements for an adjunct teacher or other qualified person who has an earned bachelors degree and has demonstrated competence in the subject to be taught.
(b) The honors and advanced placement curriculum shall be phased-in in accordance with the following schedule:
(1) Prior to the first day of June, one thousand nine hundred eighty-nine, the state board shall establish a program coordinated through the colleges and universities or some other entity, to provide training to teachers in the instruction of honors and advanced placement courses: Provided, That the state board shall not establish an additional certification area for the teaching of honors or advanced placement courses.
(2) To assist in the implementation of teacher training for honors and advanced placement instruction, there shall be an appropriation to the state board;
(3) On or before the first day of June, one thousand nine hundred eighty-nine, and each year thereafter, teachers shall be selected to teach honors and advanced placement courses based upon the teacher's qualifications and academic interests and the needs of the students. The county boards of education shall, if necessary, make arrangements for the teachers to attend a training program;
(4) Beginning in the school year one thousand nine hundred ninety--ninety-one, each county board shall provide in grades nine through twelve honors and advanced placement courses as provided under subsection (a) of this section.
(c) The state board shall designate one employee who is an expert in the area of higher education financial aid, including, but not limited to, loans, grants and work studies, to work on a full-time continuous basis with high school counselors to ensure that all high school students are informed of the availability of financial assistance to attend college.