Bay County high schools compare and contrast advanced academic programs


PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — For years now Bay District Schools has allowed open school choice for high school, as long as you provided your own transportation.

But part of students’ decision on where they want to go to high school also might depend on the advanced academic programs each school offers.

News 13’s Madalyn Bierster got to sit down with each high school principal to see what makes each school’s programs so unique.

Each high school in Bay County recruits in their own way. Whether they offer an AP Capstone Diplomas, AP classes, or workforce preparation, each school in the district has its own way of getting students ready for college.

For example, Arnold High offers the Collegiate Studies Program.

“We provide them with a triple-A experience. That is an opportunity to excel academically, artistically and athletically,” said Arnold High Principal, Britt Smith.

Arnold will hold its next Advanced Academics Open House on February 13th at 6 pm. 

The oldest accredited high school in Florida, Bay High, offers the 1st Cambridge University ‘AICE’ Program in the United States.

“If you earn that ACE Diploma then you get the highest level of the bright future scholarship and it waves the ACT or SAT requirement for college entrance,” said Bay High Principal, Billy May.

Preparing students for college, career or military is a 50-year tradition at Mosley High.

“The Mosley MAPPS Program offers the most AP and dual enrollment courses out of all the high schools and that means our students have opportunities and access to college-level courses on our campus,” said Mosley High Principal Brian Bullock.

Mosley’s Open house dates for students looking at their program is on February 11th at 6 pm and February 22nd at 10 am.

Rutherford has offered the IB Diploma Program for over 25 years, and Principal Pilson says that their program isn’t going anywhere.

“It encourages children to be critical thinkers, risk-takers, life long learners. And there’s even a community service aspect built into the IB Program,” said Rutherford High Principal, Coy Pilson.

The Collegiate Academy at Dean Bozeman offers more of a ‘STEM’ focus to students.

“I think any time that you challenge students, and you give them the opportunity to exceed even their own expectations, they are going to rise to that level,” said Deane Bozeman Principal, Josh Balkom.

The deadline for students to let schools know their decision is at the end of February.

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