D211 Post: District 211 Named to College Board’s AP Honor Roll for 3rd Consecutive Year

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Palatine High School math teacher Joyce Richardson demonstrates formulas and calculations during an AP Calculus course.

 

            Township High School District 211 was named to College Board’s 10th Annual AP Honor Roll, marking the third consecutive year, and fifth overall, that the District has been named to the list.  To be included on the AP Honor Roll list, the District, since 2017, increased its number of students participating in AP while also increasing or maintaining the percentage of students earning AP Exam scores of 3 or higher.  According to the College Board, reaching these goals shows that District 211 is successfully identifying motivated, academically prepared students who are ready for AP.

            “Earning a spot on the AP Honor Roll for the fifth time is the result of our District’s dedication to equity and access,” says District 211 Director of Instructional Development Danielle Hauser.  “We’re committed to removing barriers and encouraging students to challenge themselves academically while providing supports for academic success.”

            National data from 2019 shows that among Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian/Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander students with a high degree of readiness for AP, only about half are participating.  The first step to getting more students to participate is to give them access.  Courses must be made available and doors must be opened equitably.  Staff members throughout District 211 have worked to  expand the availability of AP courses among prepared and motivated students of all backgrounds.

            “With more students participating and succeeding in AP in this district, more students are getting a head start on college by earning college credit during high school,” said Trevor Packer, senior vice president of AP and instruction at the College Board.  “We are pleased to honor the teachers and administrators who have worked to clear a path for more students of all backgrounds to advance through AP.”

Students in Palatine High School’s AP Computer Science class write code to create a functional video game.

            Currently, District 211 has nearly 5,000 student AP enrollments in a variety of courses, including Art History, Studio Art 3-D Design, Studio Art 2-D Design, Studio Art Drawing, Music Theory, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Physics 1&2, Physics C, Environmental Science, Calculus AB, Calculus BC, Statistics, Literature and Composition, Language and Composition, Spanish, Spanish Literature and Culture, German, French, Chinese, U.S. History, European History, World History, Human Geography, Microeconomics, Macro-Economics, Psychology, Government and Politics, Seminar, Computer Science Principles, and Computer Science.  Of those students currently enrolled, more than 600 are taking their first AP course.  Each of these students chose AP Courses for their own reasons.

            For Hoffman Estates High School sophomore Diana Borshch, taking AP Human Geography gives her a challenge that she had been seeking.

            “Taking an AP class has given me the ability to get out of my comfort zone and prepare for future college classes,” she said.  “I enjoy being more challenged than I was before, and I found I am more impressed with my abilities as a student.”

            Borshch, an aspiring architect, plans to take additional AP courses recommended through her career cluster.

Sophomore Diana Borshch studies for her AP Human Geography class in Hoffman Estates High School’s AP Resource Center.

            For inclusion on the 10th Annual AP District Honor Roll, school districts had to meet the following criteria:

  • Increase participation/access to AP by at least 4% in large districts, at least 6% in medium districts, and at least 11% in small districts;
  • Increase or maintain the percentage of Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian/Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander students taking exams and increase or maintain the percentage of American Indian/Alaska Native, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, and Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander students scoring 3+ on at least one AP Exam; and
  • Improve or maintain performance levels when comparing the 2019 percentage of students scoring a 3 or higher to the 2017 percentage, unless the district has already attained a performance level at which more than 70% of its AP students earn a 3 or higher.

 

            With so many students enrolled in AP courses, District 211 schools have developed multiple support networks that aid in student success.  These supports include programs, mentoring services, and AP study labs among other resources.

            Three years ago, William Fremd High School faculty worked with students to create an AP Community club that provides students with a resource to help support each other in their AP work and projects.  The group’s current student executive member, senior Katherine Hansen, says that the AP Community provides “a place of leadership among my peers that allows me to lead discussions regarding the struggles or conflicts in AP classes that students may not feel comfortable addressing with the teacher or in the classroom with other students.”

            Hoffman Estates High School, in conjunction with a grant from Heart of America and Eon Clinics, opened its new AP Support Center at the beginning of this school year.  The Center provides a space for students enrolled in AP courses to collaborate, seek support, and study in a relaxed environment.

Palatine High School Social Studies teacher James Lange works with students enrolled in AP Human Geography in the school’s AP Resource Center.

            Sophomore Jerry Jimenez uses the AP Center to study for his AP Human Geography and AP Spanish classes.

            “I enjoy the room.  It’s a good environment to come in and get my work done,” he said.  “It’s much quieter than most other places in the school.”

            Palatine High School added an AP Center for students as well.  In the PHS AP Center, students meet one-on-one with their AP teachers and fellow students in order to better grasp the content of their AP classes.

            In addition to schools’ AP centers and clubs, many District 211 teachers use professional development courses to better their interactions with their students.

            “Our teachers take classes on a variety of developmental skills such as building a sense of belonging and building a growth mindset,” adds Dr. Hauser.  “Many of our students taking their first AP course can feel overwhelmed and out of place initially.  Through the skills our teachers learn, they can help their students adjust to these more demanding courses.  That, in turn, leads to greater student success.”

Teams of students in an AP Psychology class compete against each other during an in-class vocabulary competition.

            Success in AP classes for District 211 students also has helped give them an advantage in college preparation.  Last spring, 3,840 students District-wide, took 8,031 AP exams in one or more of the 35 AP subjects available in District 211.  Seventy-nine percent of these students earned scores of 3, 4, or 5, which may qualify a student for financial and academic advantages at many colleges and universities, including college credit in that subject.  Additionally, 32% of students in the Class of 2019 earned 15 or more college credits while attending a District 211 school through the AP and dual credit programs.

            For additional information on the District 211 Advanced Placement program, please contact your high school’s student services office.