|Barrington CUSD #220
|As a school and district, we are very proud of the progress that we have made to include more students in the AP experience. Like anything in education, one is never fully satisfied, and we continue to seek out new ways to include more students in these worthwhile classes.
There are a number of really great unanticipated benefits that will make this work worthwhile. One that our teachers consistently reflect on is the way that they see their students differently, and how it has opened their minds to seeing more capacity in much greater numbers of students. It is impressive to see teachers challenge themselves to support any student who is in their class!
Our Reason for Tackling AP/IB Equity Work
Over the years we noticed that there were some students who did not appear to gravitate to an appropriate level of curriculum rigor, and we were looking for outside expertise in identifying and supporting students in that new journey for them. While the identification was important, we really wanted to ensure that students took this step with supports, so that they could be successful!
The Most Inspiring Aspect of the Work
This is different for every student and teacher, which is part of the inspiration. From a macro-perspective, seeing students accept the new challenge, grow, and succeed are some of the most inspirational touch points in the journey for students and teachers.
Who Benefits Most
It is tough to narrow this down to a particular student or teacher, because the benefits are so personalized based on the journey each student is undertaking. That said, the students who were underrepresented, or may not have seen themselves on this particular track, are really the ones who come back and speak to the life-changing benefits of this work!
For example, one student related: “I just didn’t feel challenged in my previous classes. I wouldn’t study and still earned A’s or B’s. I took AP to challenge myself and work towards a future where I am ready for college.”
When we embarked on this journey, we sort of knew that there would be a number of areas touched by this work, from Guidance, to teachers, to parents, and students. All of the relevant stakeholders would approach this with a different lens, and would have genuine concerns for the success of students. Perhaps the greatest advise we can offer is that shifting mindsets takes time, patience, and a willingness to persevere.