William Penn School District (WPSD) is one of just 425 school districts in the U.S. and Canada being honored by the College Board with placement on the sixth annual AP® District Honor Roll for increasing access to advanced placement (AP) course work while simultaneously maintaining or increasing the percentage of students earning scores of three or higher on AP exams.

Reaching these goals indicates that a district is successfully identifying motivated, academically prepared students who are ready for the opportunity of AP. To be included on this year’s Honor Roll, WPSD had to, since 2013, increase the number of students participating in AP while also increasing or maintaining the number of students earning AP exam scores of three or higher. 

“(This shows) that we have motivated, academically-prepared students who have benefitted from rigorous AP course work and quality instruction,” said Dr. D. Brandon Cooley, principal of Penn Wood High School in Lansdowne. “We continue to implement high quality professional development, to review and revise curriculum, and to improve school culture. (We have also shown) significant evidence of exceeding the standards for Pennsylvania academic growth, College Board AP Honor Roll, and a School Performance Profile increase for two consecutive years – all of these reflect our continued progress.”

National data from 2015 show that among African American, Hispanic, and Native American students with a high degree of readiness for AP, only about half of students are participating. The first step to delivering the opportunity of AP to students is providing access by ensuring courses are available, that gate-keeping stops, and that the doors are equitably opened so these students can participate. WPSD is, according to officials there, committed to expanding the availability of AP courses among prepared and motivated students of all backgrounds.

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