PIEDMONT -- Piedmont High was one of six Alameda County schools that qualify to apply for grants from Google, but officials are unsure if they will apply.

"We first learned about it in an article in the Contra Costa Times," Piedmont High's principal Rich Kitchens said. "Then we got an email from the college board listing the process and the next steps."

"Karen Shipp, in charge of Advanced Placement tests and programs, is finding out more about this program."

Google is donating $5 million to a program to help fund Advanced Placement courses in math and science, inviting more than a dozen Bay Area schools to apply. Google's Global Impact Awards would grant from $1,200 to $9,000 to a school to launch new courses that might not be available at some schools. But Piedmont already has numerous AP courses in its curriculum.

"For such a small school, we have AP classes in environmental science, biology, music, computers," almost every core subject, Kitchens said.

"AP has a structured curriculum. Honors classes similar to AP allow more flexibility. The honors classes are very popular," he said.

Piedmont schools consistently are in the top tier statewide for academic achievement.

"If it looks like we are underserving women, for example, that is something we will look at," Kitchens said.

The grants also focus on serving diverse school populations with AP classes that would address their needs. The Piedmont school district, including Piedmont High, has predominately white students, with Asian students the second largest group.

The program stipulates that schools receiving grants must start courses in the fall and commit to offering them for a minimum of three years.

"This would cause us to go outside our normal process and timeline," Kitchens said. "We don't jump through hoops very quickly.

"We have not identified a need at this time. I don't perceive the need (the grants) seem to be addressing."

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