|Woodstock CUSD #200
|A challenge we faced at Woodstock High School was maintaining the already successful pass rate while increasing the number of students participating in taking AP exams. In the past two years the AP program has increased the number of students by 66% and, through the teamwork of everyone involved, we have been able to maintain exam scores well above the national pass rate.
Our Reason for Tackling AP/IB Equity Work
In District 200, we understand the value of providing students with an opportunity to participate in college level programing. After an internal review of our AP program, we created a three-year expansion plan which included increasing the number of underrepresented students, increasing the number of test-takers, and increasing the number of exam scores that were 3 or higher. To help us achieve these goals, we partnered with EOS to gain better insight into missing students and strategies that would lead to the achievement of our three building goals.
The Most Inspiring Aspect of the Work
EOS has provided us with a systematic identification of students and their long-term plans. We have enjoyed the opportunity to get to know students on an individual level through the 1-on-1 conversations. This has allowed us to work with students in a productive and supportive environment where we have been able to describe the challenges and benefits of taking an AP class. Ultimately, it has been inspirational to watch underrepresented students grow in confidence and academic ability throughout their first AP class. This has provided students a path to higher-level education that they may have not considered using the EOS data linked to the student’s long-term plans.
Who Benefits Most
The underrepresented students at Woodstock High School received the greatest benefit. According to the principal, Dr. Justin Smith, “Many underrepresented students have gone from uncertain and unsure individuals who believed that an AP course wasn’t for them to students who are confident with a newfound knowledge that they can be successful in a college-level course.” Working with EOS, the WHS AP program benefited as a whole by achieving equity with their population during the past two school years.
While encouraging additional students to enroll in AP classes can be very positive, it can also make veteran staff members feel uneasy. Some staff may have strong opinions on the type of student who should be enrolled in an AP course and other staff may see the expansion of AP courses as taking students away from other disciplines. To dispel these concerns, it is essential to communicate a vision, keeping the staff informed of future plans and having a plan to deal with concerns that may arise from teachers who see AP courses as a threat.