NEW YORK — On Friday, Feb. 17, 2012, Val Verde Unified School District in California will be honored as the Advanced Placement® 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 maintaining or improving AP Exam performance. Val Verde’s students, teachers, district and school administrators, local public officials, and College Board staff will celebrate these achievements during an award ceremony on Friday morning.
“Expanding access to AP while maintaining or improving performance has been a challenge for most school districts nationwide, but not Val Verde Unified School District,” said College Board President Gaston Caperton. “Thanks to new strategies and initiatives, dedicated teachers and administrators, and hardworking students, Val Verde is building a foundation for success. Congratulations to the district on a job done well.”
From 2009 to 2011, the Val Verde Unified School District:
- Increased student participation in AP by 9 percent annually
- Increased the percentage of students earning a 3 or above on at least one AP Exam by 11 percent annually
- Increased the percentage of traditionally underserved minority students earning a 3 or above on at least one AP Exam by 13 percent annually
Much of Val Verde’s success can be attributed to Val Verde Scholars, a specialized program created so well-qualified students have a rigorous and structured pathway to prepare them for college success. Each student admitted to the Val Verde Scholars program receives a netbook, access to a designated computer lab, and the benefit of several college and university visits. Faculty members also mentor these students on a regular basis.
“We work closely with students to instill the value of hard work and personal character,” said Val Verde Unified School District Superintendent Alan Jensen. “Students must complete a community service requirement and are encouraged to participate in a variety of co-curricular and extracurricular activities. Students come to believe it is fashionable to be academically successful.”
Val Verde was one of three districts selected from the 2nd Annual AP Honor Roll* to receive the College Board’s Advanced Placement District of the Year Award. Polk County Public Schools in Florida received this award in the large-district category, and Copiague Public Schools in New York will be honored later this spring in the small-district category. All three winning districts will be honored again at a celebratory plenary session at the AP Annual Conference in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., on July 21, 2012.
Research indicates that students who succeed on an AP Exam during high school typically experience greater academic success in college and are more likely to earn a college degree than their peers. Helping more students learn at a higher level and develop the critical thinking skills and content knowledge essential for college success 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.
*The 2nd Annual AP District Honor Roll includes 367 districts from across the U.S. and Canada that achieved the rare accomplishment of having expanded the number of students participating in AP courses and exams without seeing any decreases in the rate at which their students earned AP scores of 3 or higher.
Media Contact: Deborah Davis, The College Board 212-713-805 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 tothink 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, advancement 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 2011, nearly 2 million students representing more than 18,000 schools around the world, both public and nonpublic, took 3.4 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 more than 5,900 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.