Equal Opportunity Schools is your partner in achieving equitable access to AP and IB courses in high schools across the country.
We are an equity and access advocacy organization, collaborating with school, district, county, state, and national leaders to increase equitable enrollment in AP and IB courses for students of color and low-income students, giving more students the opportunity to excel.
We are committed to enrolling students of color and low-income students in rigorous AP and IB courses.
Equal Opportunity Schools’ research and experience has shown that enrolling students of color and low-income students in rigorous AP and IB courses is one of the most effective and efficient ways of closing the achievement gap. Over the past five years, we have partnered with more than 450 schools, enrolling 36,000 (and counting) students of color and low-income students—among active partners.
Our model is tested and effective.
The Equal Opportunity Schools program is a scalable, resource-effective means of closing the AP/IB access gap. Our tested model ensures that our partners are able to sustain success, even after our official partnership has ended. We are in this work for the long-haul because we believe in what’s possible for students across the country.
We collaborate with schools and districts to achieve proven results.
Student success is fostered through strong, collaborative relationships with our school and district partners. Our Partnership Directors, continuous serveries, and professional staff bring decades of experience in the work we do, but, ultimately, the success of our work belongs to the students, schools, and district leadership.
In the beginning…
Reid Saaris founded Equal Opportunity Schools because he had seen the effects that the AP/IB enrollment gap can have—on his friends and his peers when he was a student, and on his students when he was a teacher.
A young Reid Saaris was fast-tracked into advanced courses that would prepare him for college. Yet his equally bright best friend, who came from a lower-income background, was relegated to less challenging courses. Saaris went on to college at Duke, Harvard, and Stanford while his friend spent the next decade-and-a-half working to make up for the lost opportunity of advanced-level courses. The impact of that simple scheduling decision haunted Saaris as he went on to become a high school teacher in South Carolina.
As a young high school teacher, Reid helped one of his students switch into advanced-level courses after recognizing that this student was capable of more rigorous coursework. This intervention had a direct impact on the student’s educational trajectory. Inspired by this student, Reid’s initiative to find all the “missing students” doubled the size of his school’s AP and IB program, and tripled the number of African-American students in advanced classes. The success rate for all students on the exams went up by 20%.
The work was based in research, right from the start.
In partnership with the College Board, the International Baccalaureate, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Education Trust, Reid conducted in-depth research. The analysis revealed that while African-American, Latino/a, and low-income students are about as likely as their white or upper-income peers to attend schools that offer AP and IB courses, roughly three-quarters of a million miss out every year.
Equal Opportunity Schools was founded in 2010 to change that and help foster equity in education to students and schools across the nation.