She is the only African American in the country to receive the national honor.
The Oxford native graduated from TC with a bachelor’s degree in biology, then went on to earn a master’s degree in secondary biology education from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
She teaches in the Birmingham City School System and earned the distinction, which is awarded annually to 23 educators across the country, for her ability to prepare students for high and qualifying scores in biology on the Advanced Placement exam.
“Before I met some of my students, it had been determined that many of them had little to no AP scoring potential based on test scores and the fact that several of them had not performed to their full potential in other subjects,” Forbes said.
“Regardless of these challenges, I believe every student, when given an opportunity, encouragement and quality teaching, can succeed academically.”
Forbes’ class size has more than doubled in the past two years from students seeking to be in her class.
“I teach in an urban setting so the students that I teach aren’t your average AP kids,” Forbes said.
“But because they are seeing the rigor coming out of the course they are really motivated to get in the class.”
In her first year at Huffman High School, an inner-city school, Forbes increased qualifying AP scores by 40 percent; she had the seventh highest increase in passing AP scores in the state last year.
“Students must be afforded access to academic rigor to truly realize their full potential,” Forbes said.
She said her students previously had little exposure to the academic rigor needed to be successful in an AP course.
And now that the class is drawing a large crowd, students are seeing the benefits of taking the course and earning college credit in the meantime.
Contact Aziza Jackson firstname.lastname@example.org.