College Board Trustee Leads Local Push to Expand AP® in Northeastern North Carolina
College Board Trustee Leads Local Push to Expand AP® in Northeastern North CarolinaAbby Hexter, Assistant Director, Member Communications, The College Board
In October 2012, College Board Trustee and Elizabeth City State University (ESCU) Chancellor Willie Gilchrist reviewed Advanced Placement Program® (AP®) participation and performance maps for North Carolina. What he saw concerned him. In his part of the state — a predominantly rural region where the median household income is less than the national average — there was a striking lack of AP depth and success. Building on his previous experience as a K–12 district superintendent, Gilchrist galvanized neighboring district leaders and began to build an AP movement in northeastern North Carolina.
Under the leadership of Gilchrist and College Board’s Jenny Krugman, vice president of strategic advocacy and outreach, ECSU, and the College Board regional team put together the ECSU Plan of Action for Advanced Placement and jointly provided resources to host several convenings and professional development sessions for teachers, administrators, AP Coordinators, and other stakeholders. Their ultimate goal focuses not only on expanding access to AP for students in the region but also on informing all stakeholders, including parents, teachers, school officials, city government officials, and business leaders, that expanding AP is an investment in the economic stability of region as a whole.
In spring 2013, the team conducted a five-hour “advanced academics for all students” session for superintendents and their staff from over 20 local districts. During the session, College Board staff shared the philosophy behind AP, including the challenges and benefits for students and their families, and provided in-depth information on AP Potential™ and PSAT/NMSQT®. Following this session, the district leaders invited their teachers and curriculum coordinators to attend a one-and-a-half-day convening on ECSU’s campus later that summer. ECSU provided housing, food, recreation, and meeting space. The College Board developed sessions and AP resources tailored specifically for this group. Except for travel, participants attended this comprehensive workshop free of cost.
Following the workshop, regional College Board staff continue to hold webinars and conduct direct communication with participants to provide updates, hone-in on specific areas of interest, and discuss next steps. 2013 AP participation data will be used as a baseline to track AP participation and score results through 2016 to measure the success of the effort.
As the North Carolina AP Partnership — an effort to build a pervasive culture of AP throughout the state — takes shape, the work of the northeastern region will be transitioned into this larger effort.