Glenbard Township High School District Glen Ellyn, Illinois
Our partnership with EOS has resulted in AP enrollment increases of 89% for low-income White & Asian students, 124% for low-income Hispanic/Latino students, and 196% for low-income African-American students over the last 2 years. We have enrolled 483 new students from underrepresented demographic groups in our AP program over this same time period.

 

Our Reason for Tackling AP/IB Equity Work

Glenbard has been committed to this work intentionally since 2009 when we formed a Minority Student Achievement Committee that consisted of 50 parents, community members, teachers, students and administrators. The target for the AP Participation goal was to triple the participation of Black and Hispanic students (total tests taken and passing tests per 100 students). Beginning in 2010, these strategies were implemented, resulting in impressive gains. However, we still had persistent enrollment gaps in our AP courses and saw EOS as a source of a new approach to reach underrepresented students that we were still missing.

The Most Inspiring Aspect of the Work

The most inspirational part of the work was seeing the assets possessed by the students identified through the process and realizing that these students would be successful in these courses, thereby changing the trajectory of their post-high school plans.

Who Benefits Most

We found a tremendous amount of students who possessed the assets to succeed, but had not yet taken an AP course. We have changed the post-high school trajectories of hundreds of students. These increases were made in a district already honored for its equity and excellence, where 44% of graduates pass at least 1 AP exam over their four years, a percentage that is twice the state average. All 4 schools annually are named to the Washington Post’s “America’s Most Challenging High Schools.”

Superintendent Dr. David Larson shares that “We emphasize a growth mindset with students – teaching students that their skills can improve with hard work. As they develop their abilities and interests, we challenge them to stretch themselves by taking more rigorous classes, including Advanced Placement classes. Our work with Equal Opportunity Schools will change the trajectory of students’ lives.”

Advice

The biggest piece of advice would be to spend time on the front end to communicate what the specific activities and timeline of the partnership work will entail throughout the year. We could have reduced some stress of implementing the program better if we had frontloaded the entire timeline and explained activities more at, or prior to, the beginning of the school year. We did this only generally, and therefore our 2nd and 3rd waves of student outreach and recruitment in the spring were not understood by some stakeholders, because we did not explain the specific steps of the process in detail as well as we could have. We also found that it is very important to spend time recruiting the right staff members for each school’s equity team, as they will be key messengers of the work. We addressed these growth areas during the second and third years of our partnership with EOS, and by so doing have engrained the outreach process as part of our school culture.

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