Several initiatives and programs are available that foster a college-going culture and offer support and assistance to administrators, teachers, students and families as we work toward achieving post-secondary readiness for all students. Some of these initiatives include:
- The promotion of increased student participation and performance in rigorous courses, including accelerated courses which could potentially earn students college credits (Advanced Placement, Cambridge International A and AS level coursework, International Baccalaureate, and Dual Enrollment);
- College Readiness assessments such as the school day SAT, PSAT/NMSQT and PSAT 8/9 allow the opportunity for students to take these assessments on their own school campus during a school day to remove barriers to Saturday testing for low-income students;
- The AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) program which promotes student self-management and personal responsibility for academic success and provides instruction on college readiness topics and academic strategies;
The Johnson Take Stock program which offers support and preparation for low-income first generation students at a group of ten cohort schools.
High schools offer a variety of accelerated coursework options for students. Among them are:
- Advanced Placement (AP)
- Cambridge Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE)
- International Baccalaureate (IB)
- Dual Enrollment (DE)
How are students identified for accelerated coursework?
The identification and selection of students for accelerated coursework is a school-based process. The District encourages an open access policy – any student who is interested and motivated to work toward success on an accelerated course should be given access. In addition to student self-selection, most schools use a variety of methods to identify students with the potential to be successful in college credit-bearing coursework, including teacher or counselor recommendations, GPA and student success in prerequisite coursework. Another tool schools commonly use is called AP Potential®. AP Potential® is a web-based tool that allows schools to expand opportunities by generating rosters of students who are likely to score a 3 or better on a given AP Exam. Based on research that shows strong correlations between PSAT/NMSQT® scores and AP exam results, AP Potential® is designed to help schools increase access to Advanced Placement and to ensure that no student who has the chance of succeeding in AP coursework is overlooked. While the AP Potential® program is specifically designed to correlate to AP coursework, schools can infer that students with potential for success in AP may also have potential or interest in AICE, IB or Dual Enrollment coursework.
AP Potential® is available to schools through the College Board website and through the district’s Educational Data Warehouse. AP Potential® should never be used to discourage a motivated student from registering for an accelerated course, since the AP Potential® results only account for some of the factors that contribute to the students' success, and do not take into account the power of an individual student's motivation, parental support, and teacher efficacy.
In order to support teachers on accelerated courses, a District-wide collaborative effort has been made to establish teacher professional learning communities called Roundtables. The AP/IB/AICE Roundtables give accelerated coursework teachers in a variety of subject areas the opportunity to meet, both virtually and face-to-face, in order to share best practices, to seek and offer advice, and to discuss strategies as well as share materials and resources.
Teachers also have access to online communities and resources through their specific organizations: