TICONDEROGA - Rick McClintock relishes a challenge. The Ticonderoga High School math teacher makes certain his students do as well.
"Our calling is to take students to the next level, to make them better than they are," McClintock said. "I expect a lot of my students because I know they're capable of it."
Test scores show McClintock is a highly-effective teacher, so much so he has received the AP Award from the College Board.
The AP Award is given to four teachers a year in the Middle States Region - an area from New York to Washington, D.C. - for accomplishments in the Advanced Placement program. The program offers college-level courses and exams at high schools. Students can earn college credit with qualifying scores.
McClintock teaches AP statistics along with regular math courses at Ti High.
"AP exams are scored 1-5," explained Kristen Murphy, Ti's AP coordinator. "Most students get 2-3. Mr. McClintock rarely has anybody below a 4. His scores are outstanding."
There is no secret to McClintock's success. He believes in hard work.
"I remember being in Mr. McClintock's class," recalled Ben Chapman, Ti High's valedictorian last year. "He used every minute every day. He let us know what he expected out of us. If you're in his class you're there to get a 4 or 5. He pushed us to be our very best. His class is very difficult.
"He's fun to be with, but you know not to mess around with him," Chapman added.
Chapman and Haley Best, another Ti High graduate, nominated McClintock for the AP Award at the suggestion of Deb Breitenbach, an AP English teacher at the school.
"Being an AP teacher myself, I see the work Rick puts into his classes," she said. "Rick was my son's AP statistics teacher. My son believed he couldn't do math; Rick proved him wrong. He taught my son hard work makes a difference."
McClintock has been teaching 33 years, the last 23 in Ticonderoga.
"I still enjoy coming here every day," said McClintock, who is known to be in his classroom at 6:15 a.m. "When I leave at the end of the day I have a big smile. I love what I do."
McClintock teaches other math courses, but his approach never varies.
"The challenge is always the same, the expectations are always the same," he said. "I expect the best of every student in every class."
John McDonald, Ticonderoga Central School superintendent, said McClintock deserves the AP recognition.
"Mr. McClintock is one of the most professional educators I have had the pleasure to work with during my 25 years in education," he said. "I have worked with him as a teacher, principal and superintendent. He takes great pride in his work and cares deeply about his students. He has remarkable way of getting the best out of every student no matter what their ability.
"We are extremely proud of his award, but can honestly say that we are not surprised," he said. "In Ticonderoga, we believe in high expectations. Mr. McClintock lives it on a daily basis."
McClintock is uncomfortable with the limelight.
"I sincerely appreciate the award," he said, "but the award is really a validation of my students.
"Those aren't my (test) scores; they are the scores of my students," McClintock said. "They work hard. They deal with being pushed and getting frustrated, stretching beyond a point they thought they could. This award is really in recognition of their hard work."
Ticonderoga offers AP courses in six subjects - statistics, calculus, English literature and composition, English language and composition, biology and U.S. history.
Nationally 10 percent of high school students take AP courses, Ti High Principal Mike Graney said. In Ticonderoga 30 percent take the classes.
"We believe in exposing our students to a rigorous curriculum," Graney said. "We'd rather see a kid accept the challenge and get a 1 or 2 (score) than to not try."
Tough high school courses, Graney said, prepares students for college work.