How's this for an academic milestone? Jurupa Unified has earned a spot on the 7th Annual AP District Honor Roll – the only school district in Riverside County this year to do so.
JUSD won the honor for simultaneously expanding student access to Advanced Placement courses and maintaining the rate at which students pass AP exams to show proficiency in college-level coursework. More than 1,500 students – from a range of backgrounds – last year enrolled in JUSD's AP classes in 17 subjects, including English literature, calculus, statistics, physics, world history, and Spanish.
"I really want to commend our teachers, guidance counselors and site leaders for exploring ways to open the AP experience up to more students, and helping them be successful in AP classes," said Roberta Pace, Director of College and Career Readiness at Jurupa Unified.
This year marks the first time Jurupa Unified has received the honor, conferred by the College Board on high-achieving districts. The 7th Annual AP District Honor Roll includes 433 districts in the U.S. and Canada, including 20 in California and just two in the Inland Empire: JUSD and Barstow Unified. The current honor roll is based on AP success data from 2014 to 2016.
For JUSD, the recognition follows years of enterprise by teachers, counselors and principals. "They have done recruiting and educated students and families about AP courses available," Ms. Pace said. "They have seen AP potential in kids who might not have recognized the potential in themselves."
The college-readiness program AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) also has built AP interest and enrollment, said Ms. Pace.
AP classes impart many benefits, including credit for college coursework, experience with advanced curriculum, and a range of skills that help students succeed after high school.
After completing AP courses, students can test out of up to a year of college, saving as much as 25 percent of the time and cost of a four-year degree. A year of college equates to passing eight AP exams on average, Ms. Pace said. Advanced Placement classes also teach life and college skills such as organization, time management, completion of long-term projects, and the effective use of study groups.
Meanwhile, to broaden the AP portfolio, AP Capstone will debut at Patriot High in Fall 2017. AP Capstone teaches evidence-based problem-solving in two parts: AP Seminar, in which students work collaboratively on sustained research, and AP Research, in which a student completes independent research, consults with experts, and defends his or her findings to a panel of experts and educators. Students might select topics such as the culture of Uganda or human trafficking in the 21st century, Ms. Pace said. Those who pass AP Capstone plus exams in four AP subjects will earn an AP diploma – a prized asset on college applications.
But whether students take a single AP class, complete the mighty Capstone or thrive somewhere in between, Advanced Placement work can lift confidence as they graduate and go on to college. "They realize, 'Hey, I've already done this,' " said Ms. Pace. " 'I know I can be successful.' "