Recognizing a Commitment to AP Access in Virginia
Recognizing a Commitment to AP Access in VirginiaDominique Jones, Associate Director, College Board
On January 27, the College Board hosted an AP Recognition Day in Richmond, Virginia, to celebrate five school divisions—King George, Prince William, Alexandria, Powhatan, and Stafford—that received the AP Honor Roll District Award in 2014 and 2015. These districts have created opportunities for students by adding new AP courses, identifying more students who are likely to succeed in AP, and offering these students extra encouragement to enroll. As participation has increased, they have also been able to maintain—and, in some cases, increase—the percentage of students who passed AP exams with a score of 3 or higher.
After State Superintendent Dr. Steven R. Staples kicked off the event and presented the awards, teachers, students, and administrators reflected on their experiences with the AP Program and explained how they were able to increase access and achievement over the last two years. Dr. Chris Quinn, director of instructional services in Stafford County, said: “Build it and they will come. We focus on increasing the number of AP courses each year. We offered 28 AP courses this year. We create a budget to send AP teachers to training and provide time for them to plan together.” And mostly importantly, he said, “Our teachers believe our students can do it. “ Principal Greg Daniel said that at Colonial Forge High School they grew their AP Program by using the PSAT/NMSQT exam to identify all students in grades 8-11 who had the potential to succeed in advanced coursework.
These efforts have opened doors for high schoolers in Virginia. “Our growing AP program has given our students a competitive edge when applying to college,” said Jessica Wilkerson, AP History and AP Psychology teacher at King George High School. “The challenging AP curriculum, coupled with our dedicated and knowledgeable AP teachers, allows students to develop skills essential to success at the college level.”
After the panel, teachers and students had the chance to tour the Capitol building with the legislators who have helped make AP access a reality for thousands of students across the state. Delegate Steven Landes, Delegate Thomas “Tag” Greason, and Senator Emmet Hanger were recognized for their support.
While the day’s discussions celebrated the dedication and triumphs of those in attendance, they did not shy away from the question of how to help an even greater number of students succeed in the future. Dr. Eric Jones, superintendent of Powhatan County Public Schools, summed up the mood succinctly: “It is an honor to win an award, but our goal is to continue to serve more students successfully!”