388 US Public School Districts Across the Nation Are Honored

Santa Cruz High AP Chemistry class

Santa Cruz City Schools, one of fewer than 400 districts in the nation, is being honored by the College Board for both opening the door to AP classes to a broader group of students and for maintaining a high percentage of students earning AP exam scores of 3 or higher. In just two years, from 2008 to 2010, the District has increased the number of students participating in AP from 263 to 337, an increase of nearly 25%. Of the students taking AP exams, 77% earned a score of 3 or higher, the score typically needed to earn college credit.


“I am constantly impressed with the excellence of Santa Cruz City Schools. Our teachers and students are as talented as any in the country and they should be proud of this recognition,” noted Santa Cruz Mayor Ryan Coonerty, an alum of Santa Cruz’s public schools.

Santa Cruz City Schools Superintendent Gary Bloom stated  “Santa Cruz City Schools is making a concerted effort to insure that all of our graduates are able to access college and other post-secondary educational and career opportunities. We are committed to increasing the numbers of students from non-college educated families who aspire to graduate from four year colleges and universities. Thanks to the efforts of our students, families, teachers and counselors, we increased the number of students taking AP classes by 12% in just this past year.”

Widening the pathways to college and providing support for students seeking access to more rigorous courses are key initiatives of the Santa Cruz Education Foundation.  AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination), a SCEF-advocated program, has contributed to broadening the groups of students enrolled in AP classes.

The AP Achievement List is made up of all school districts that are simultaneously expanding opportunity and improving performance.  The list includes 388 school districts representing 43 states, with California’s 37 districts on the list representing the largest number of districts from a single state.

Helping more students learn at a higher level and earn higher AP scores is an objective of all members of the AP community, from AP teachers to district and school administrators to college professors. Many are experimenting with a variety of initiatives and strategies to determine how to expand access and improve student performance simultaneously.

AP Chemistry teacher Stacey Falls

“These districts are living proof that when access to AP is provided for the range and breadth of prepared and motivated students, districts can achieve even higher learning outcomes for their students — and the opportunity for so many more to earn college credit and placement — than when AP opportunities were restricted to a smaller segment of the high school population,” said Trevor Packer, vice president of the College Board’s Advanced Placement Program.