Dora, 11th Grader, Atlanta Metro

“I am a very good student with a lot of potential.”


As an incoming 10th grader, Dora was concerned that her courses weren’t challenging and was interested in taking upper-level courses. She carried a 2.89 GPA, but she didn’t believe that her grades reflected her full potential and she aspired to go to a four-year college to study medicine. She had heard of AP classes, but she didn’t know how to enroll and didn’t feel particularly welcome.

The Atlanta metro school district where Dora attends school has been in a partnership with Equal Opportunity Schools for two academic years. In that time, the district has expanded its AP program enrollments by 20 percent. Most of this program growth is reflected in low-income students and students of color. Without the intentional equity work of the partnership, many students would miss out on that opportunity.

The Equal Opportunity Schools partnership provided the encouragement that Dora needed. The program’s outreach efforts showed that she had the right learning mindset for AP, and a staff member recommended her.

While her teacher’s encouragement was key for getting Dora to sign up for AP US History class, she still had doubts about whether the experience was for her.

After the first test, she was inclined to agree: “When I saw my bad score, I got very discouraged. I remember thinking multiple times about dropping AP US History, and I didn’t because I knew it was going to be good for me.”

Dora’s teacher helped her persist and succeed by providing encouragement and respecting her learning style. Frequent feedback helped Dora to continue to improve and grow as a student.

“The encouragement that was given helped me a lot…[My teacher] didn’t have a favorite student so it made you feel welcome. Some kids aren’t really comfortable with speaking. I know my teacher respected that.”

 

At the end of the year, Dora felt that her first AP experience was a success and plans to continue AP in 12th grade.

“I have learned why it is important to do well in school to be prepared for college. I am glad I took AP.”

 

*Per FERPA, names have been changed to protect students’ identities.