Chicago Public Schools Expands Access to AP Programs at 6 More High Schools
Chicago Public Schools Expands Access to AP Programs at 6 More High SchoolsCamille Boxhill, Associate Director, Professional Communications, The College Board
Alexis Hernandez, senior at Thomas Kelly High School, reflected on his Advanced Placement (AP) journey and recalled how he was the only student allowed to enroll in AP courses as a sophomore. That’s no longer the case. In fact, during a recent press conference, Chicago Public Schools announced its plan to expand AP offerings with the introduction of the AP Capstone™ Diploma Program to additional schools.
In the 2019-2020 school year, six schools—five neighborhood schools and one charter—will add the AP Capstone to their curricula. The program that has continued to grow in popularity since its launch in 2014, equips students with independent research, teamwork, and communication skills that are increasingly valued by colleges. Students who earn scores of 3 or higher in AP Seminar and AP Research and on four additional AP Exams of their choosing receive the AP Capstone Diploma™.
Chicago Public Schools—six-time AP Honor Roll recipient and the only large district to ever win the AP District of the year twice—has experienced remarkable results with AP Capstone.
In attendance was Mayor Rahm Emanuel, district head Janice Jackson, and College Board staff including senior district director Jennifer McDonnell, senior director of district and state strategy Penny Kotterman, executive director of Illinois partnership Hoor Bhapuri, and executive director of Capstone Advanced Placement Rushi Sheth.
"[We're] recognizing a school district that, if you looked at every other data point, every other demographer would tell you, 'not those kids, not that background, not that school'," said Emanuel.
But the results tell a different story. Emanuel urged people to witness firsthand the challenging and life-altering work students are doing at Kelly High School and across the district. Chicago Public Schools leads the country in number of AP Capstone diplomas earned and more than 50% of students who take AP exam score a 3 or higher—the highest in the nation.
“When students are exposed to advanced courses early, they are more likely to not only be prepared for college, but they are more likely to persist and complete college,” Jackson shared. With this announcement, thousands more of Chicago’s students will have the opportunity to tackle college-level work and earn college credit before graduating high school.
McDonnell shared Chicago’s unprecedented results and commended the district for providing more opportunities for students to develop the skills they need for college and beyond.
"This city has proven time and again that talent and college potential aren't limited by zip code or background. Students everywhere deserve a chance to excel, and the College Board is honored to be a part of the pathway to opportunity for Chicago students."