NEW YORK — Glendale Union High School District (GUHSD) in Arizona has been named the College Board Advanced Placement® Equity and Excellence District of the Year for being the nation’s leader, among medium-sized school districts, in simultaneously expanding access to Advanced Placement Program® (AP®) courses and improving AP Exam performance. GUHSD students, teachers, district and school administrators, local public officials, and College Board executives will celebrate these achievements during an award ceremony on Wednesday, Jan. 16.
“We applaud the outstanding work of the students, teachers and administrators at Glendale Union High School District. They have all proven that with hard work and dedication, equity and excellence can be achieved in classrooms across the country,” said College Board president David Coleman.
In November 2012, Glendale was one of a record 539 school districts across the U.S. and Canada that achieved placement on the Annual AP District Honor Roll. From this list, three AP Districts of the Year were selected, one for each category of district population size (small, medium, large). Among school districts with medium-sized populations, Glendale achieved higher increases in AP participation and performance than any other district in the United States. During the period from 2009 to 2012, the Glendale Union High School District:
• Increased student participation in AP by 15 percent annually;
• Increased the percentage of AP students earning a 3 or above on at least one AP Exam by 14 percent annually, with 51 percent of their AP students scoring 3 or above in 2012; and
• Increased the percentage of traditionally underserved minority AP students earning a 3 or above on at least one AP Exam by 21 percent annually — an increase of 142 students last year.
Increasing access to AP course work while simultaneously increasing the percentage of students earning scores of 3 or higher is the ideal scenario for a district’s AP program, indicating that the district is successfully preparing a larger array of its students for the rigor of AP and college studies.
“Our dedicated teachers challenge students every day — teachers truly do make the difference,” said School Superintendent Eugene Dudo. “One of Glendale Union’s core beliefs is that all students can learn. Long before a student takes their first Advanced Placement Exam, teachers in all classes have set high expectations and have prepared students for challenging AP course work. As a district, we encourage all students to participate in Advanced Placement classes.”
Much of GUHSD’s success can be attributed to the district’s Plan for Excellence, created with the belief that a rigorous education — fostering content knowledge, critical thinking and personal responsibility — is the best path to success in a changing society. Because participation in AP is a key component of GUHSD’s Plan for Excellence, the district funds AP Exam fees, enabling all GUHSD students — regardless of socioeconomic background — the opportunity to earn college credit, advanced placement or both during high school. GUHSD frequently hosts events for middle and early high school students and their families to inform them about the value of the AP Program.
“Nationwide this year we saw the largest improvement in AP Exam scores in nearly two decades, and Glendale’s great successes were a major contributor to these historic national AP score gains,” said Trevor Packer, the College Board’s senior vice president responsible for the Advanced Placement Program. “And this award is a powerful testament to the district’s belief that many more students deserve access to the sort of rigor that would better prepare them for college.”
Glendale Union High School District is the medium-sized district selected to receive this year’s College Board Advanced Placement Equity and Excellence District of the Year Award. The other two winning districts — one large and one small — will be announced in the near future. In addition to celebratory events at the district level, all three winning districts will be honored during the AP Annual Conference in Las Vegas in July 2013.
Helping more students learn at a higher level and earn higher AP scores is an objective shared by all members of the AP community, from AP teachers to district and school administrators to college professors. Many are experimenting with a variety of initiatives and strategies to determine how to expand access and improve student performance simultaneously.
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About the Advanced Placement Program®
The College Board’s Advanced Placement Program® (AP®) enables willing and academically prepared students to pursue college-level studies — with the opportunity to earn college credit, advanced placement or both — while still in high school. Through AP courses in 34 subjects, each culminating in a rigorous exam, students learn to think critically, construct solid arguments and see many sides of an issue — skills that prepare them for college and beyond. Taking AP courses demonstrates to college admission officers that students have sought the most rigorous curriculum available to them, and research indicates that students who score a 3 or higher on an AP Exam typically experience greater academic success in college and are more likely to earn a college degree than non-AP students. Each AP teacher’s syllabus is evaluated and approved by faculty from some of the nation’s leading colleges and universities, and AP Exams are developed and scored by college faculty and experienced AP teachers. Most four-year colleges and universities in the United States grant credit, advanced placement or both on the basis of successful AP Exam scores — more than 3,600 institutions worldwide annually receive AP scores. In the last decade, participation in the AP Program has more than doubled and graduates succeeding on AP Exams have nearly doubled. In May 2012, 2.1 million students representing more than 18,000 schools around the world, both public and nonpublic, took 3.7 million AP Exams.
About the College Board
The College Board is a mission-driven not-for-profit organization that connects students to college success and opportunity. Founded in 1900, the College Board was created to expand access to higher education. Today, the membership association is made up of over 6,000 of the world’s leading educational institutions and is dedicated to promoting excellence and equity in education. Each year, the College Board helps more than seven million students prepare for a successful transition to college through programs and services in college readiness and college success — including the SAT® and the Advanced Placement Program®. The organization also serves the education community through research and advocacy on behalf of students, educators and schools. For further information, visit www.collegeboard.org.