In the news: Monterey County school districts named to AP Honor Roll
Monterey County school districts named to AP Honor Roll
North Monterey County Unified and Pacific Grove Unified recognized for increasing participation, test scores
MOSS LANDING — North Monterey County Unified School District has been putting in major efforts to provide students with as many Advanced Placement courses as possible. The hard work is showing some results as the district was honored by The College Board with being named to the ninth annual AP District Honor Roll.
North Monterey County Unified along with Pacific Grove Unified School District were the two districts in Monterey County to receive recognition and just two of 25 districts in California. Both districts are also among 373 school districts in the United States and Canada to be included on the list.
“I think it is very important to take AP classes because more students are going to college,” said Nathan Gonzalez, a senior at North Monterey County High. “AP teaches how much work needs to be put in. (AP) gets them used to what is to be expected.”
North Monterey County Unified has more than 4,600 K-12 students, while the high school has at least 1,200 students in ninth through 12th grades.
Catano Malone, a senior at North Monterey County High, said having the administration promote AP courses is good because it reflects the challenges people will face in the future.
“Everyone at school is able to test for free and this has helped improve access,” Malone said. “We have free resources and tutoring available after school and this is available to everyone, regardless of their personal resources.”
In order to be included on the ninth annual Honor Roll, North Monterey County Unified School District had to increase the number of students participating in AP while also increasing or maintaining the percentage of students earning AP Exam scores of 3 or higher starting in 2016.
But the first step for North Monterey County High was giving students more access to AP courses and the school district stepped in by expanding availability for all its students.
“If we provide equitable access and opportunity for our students then we are developing perseverance and grit,” said North Monterey County High Principal Chandalee Wood.
Wood said the school is giving students the opportunity to be the best they can be by allowing them to have a choice to fully engage in AP classes. And students like Maleny Ruiz, a senior at North Monterey County High, said they’re seeking those harder courses.
“These (AP) students are taking AP classes because they want to challenge themselves,” Ruiz said. “It helps them see the subject in more depth and they consider these classes interesting because they see it in a new light that they don’t see in a regular class.”
In 2018, more than 4,000 colleges and universities around the world received AP scores for college credit, advanced placement, or both, and/or consideration in the admissions process. In order for districts to be recognized on the AP District Honor Roll, three years of AP data, from 2016 to 2018, was thoroughly reviewed.
The organization looked across 38 AP Exams, including world language and culture. The districts had to increase participation or access to AP courses by at least 4 percent in large districts, 6 percent in medium districts and 11 percent in small districts.
School districts also had to increase or maintain the percentage of American Indian/Alaska Native, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino and Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander students taking exams and scoring 3 or higher on at least one AP Exam.
Finally, districts also had to improve or maintain performance levels when comparing the 2018 percentage of students scoring a 3 or higher to the 2016 percentage, unless the district has already attained a performance level at which more than 70 percent of its AP students earn a 3 or higher.
According to North Monterey County Unified, national data from 2018 shows that among the students of color in the group listed above who have a high degree of readiness for AP, only about half are participating.
Many districts are experimenting with initiatives and strategies to see how they can expand access and improve student performance at the same time.
North Monterey County Unified has been going in a direction that’s engaging more students to learn at a higher level and earn higher AP scores. Wood said the high school is looking to create a vertical alignment from the middle school so students can enter AP-type classes such as pre-AP classes.
North Monterey County Unified Superintendent Kari Yeater said the high school has worked hard to offer a variety of AP courses with support for students who want to challenge themselves.
“Our students are amazing, capable, resilient and steadfast in their desire to be educated and prepared for college and their future career,” Yeater said. “Encouraging them to enroll and experience an Advanced Placement college-level course in high school better prepares them for success in college.”
The complete 9th Annual AP District Honor Roll can be found at: apcentral.collegeboard.
Juan Reyes can be reached at (831) 726-4360
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