AP courses up over past 10 years for YUHSD
The amount of Advanced Placement courses offered at Yuma Union High School District campuses – and the amount of students taking the courses – has substantially increased over the past decade.
In 2002, there were three AP courses offered at YUHSD for a total of 14 classes across the district. Now, 10 years later, there are 20 different AP course offerings, for a total of 75 AP classes across the district.
In 2001 YUHSD had a total enrollment of 8,120 students, with 89 AP exams administered. In 2012 the district had a total enrollment of 10,968 students, with 1,845 AP exams administered. Also, in 2011 the College Board named YUHSD to the AP Achievement List for significant gains in Advanced Placement access and student performance.
“While average AP exam scores initially dipped with the addition of many more students participating, as is natural, more students are scoring higher now than when there were fewer students in the classes five and ten years ago,” stated YUHSD.
“Research shows that students who take an AP course while in high school, regardless of their performance on the actual AP exam, are much more likely to attend, succeed in and graduate from college within five years than students who do not have the same opportunity.”
YUHSD also shared data that showed that in school year 2000-2001, minority students comprised 73 percent of the student population of the district but only 38 percent of the students in AP classes. In 2011-2012, minority students made up 82 percent of the district student population and 79 percent of the students in AP courses.
“With Ready Now Yuma, the district is making rigorous and relevant coursework in core and elective curriculum areas the expectation for all students,” stated YUHSD. “Cambridge IGCSE courses in ninth and tenth grade prepare students for the Career and Technical Education and Advanced Placement pathways in the upper levels. Ideally, every student will develop a career and college plan that includes both CTE (Career and Technical Education) and AP courses appropriate to their interests and talents.”
AP teachers across the district were recently invited to a YUHSD board meeting to be recognized for their work in the classroom.
Superintendent Toni Badone shared that besides physical education courses, AP classes are some of the most popular classes in the district.
“What happens with AP or with any other program, happens in the classroom and it takes those teachers,” said Badone. “We have been blessed with many fabulous AP teachers who challenge students with rigorous curriculum and make sure that they are also supported for success.”
Kathy Nelson-Vorndam, an AP psychology teacher, said that in regards to teaching an advanced course, “I think mostly ... I enjoy the fact that any student in our district can take an AP class if they feel that they are ready and motivated and if they have an interest in that particular subject.”
She said rather than having it closed to only advanced students or gifted students, it is helpful to allow all students access to higher level learning.
Frank Nuñez, YUHSD community engagement and communications director, who is also a former AP Spanish teacher, said that as a past AP student himself, he believes the courses helped him tremendously after high school. “I still share with students that my senior year was the toughest year and so when I went to college, it was easier because I had scored well on an AP exam,” he said.
Sarah Womer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6858. Find her on Facebook at Facebook.com/YSSarahWomer or on Twitter at @YSSarahWomer.