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Advanced Placement participation up in Everett School District

The Everett School District made a focused effort to expand its Advanced Placement Program over the past several years. As a result there was a 7.5 percent increase in the number of AP course seats from the 2016-2017 school year to the 2017-2018 school year.
Advance Placement Program participation. Image courtesy of Everett School District.

From an Everett Public Schools news release.

Everett Public Schools has made a focused effort to expand its Advanced Placement (AP) program over the past several years. The good news is it is working. In the 2017-2018 school year, a total of 25 AP courses were offered districtwide with a combined enrollment of 3,363 classes taken by 1,955 students, a 7.5 percent increase in AP course seats from the 2016-17 school year.

Why does AP matter? AP is a measure of students’ rigorous coursework and helps prepare students for college-level learning experiences.

“Students who take AP classes are more likely to graduate from high school and to be more successful in college coursework,” said Jeanne Willard, College and Career Readiness and On-Time Graduation Director at Everett Public Schools.

AP classes can also save time and money for students and their families. If a student scores high enough on the AP subject exam, they may apply that toward college credit. Fewer college classes to pay for means more room to take other classes, but some students don’t see AP classes as an option.

“Before, I thought AP classes were for people who didn’t look like me,” said Mariama Darboe, a student at Everett High School.

She went on to say, “I thought it was for people who are white and really, really smart.” 

The district is still working to bridge that gap mostly caused by race and poverty. Staff recruits students for AP classes and help them find interesting options that are good matches for their education or career goals. Staff build relationships with students to help foster their goals and to offer systematic supports to help them reach those goals.

The district also encourages college-going thinking in students through events such as High School and Beyond, field trips to college campuses, and FAFSA support to apply for financial aid.

In addition to many years of AP instructional training for teachers and administrators, the district implemented the AP Equal Opportunity Schools program and the AP Capstone Program in its efforts to increase the number and diversity of students participating in AP coursework and AP exams.

As a result, the College Board selected Everett Public Schools as one of only 447 schools in the United States and Canada to be included on the 8th Annual AP District Honor Roll in 2017. These efforts have also helped increase the number of both test takers and AP exams taken.