Lynwood Unified School District on Feb. 28 commemorated its distinction as one of three districts in the nation – and the only one in California – to be named a College Board Advanced Placement District of the Year, celebrating the monumental achievement with students, teachers, district administrators as College Board leadership presented the award at Lynwood High School.
The District received the honor for being the national leader among medium-size school districts – defined as having between 8,000 and 49,999 students – in expanding access to AP courses while simultaneously improving AP exam performance.
Lynwood Unified was among 433 districts across the U.S. and Canada to win placement on the annual AP District Honor Roll. From this list, three AP Districts of the Year — one for each district size: small, medium and large — were selected based on an analysis of three academic years of AP data.
“At Lynwood Unified, we truly believe that every student has the ability to succeed in the college and career of his or her choosing. It is our responsibility to provide the right tools and support to get them there,” Lynwood Unified Superintendent Paul Gothold said. “This represents our mantra of equity and access – it should be our students who make the choice whether they go to college, not the educational system.”
Lynwood Unified has eliminated prerequisites and tracking so that any student can enroll in advanced coursework, including AP, honors and International Baccalaureate (IB) programs. The District provides teacher training to support AP students; free AP summer camps and support outside of the instructional day; access to online tutoring courses; and District funds to cover the cost of exams.
From 2014 to 2016, Lynwood Unified School District:
- Simultaneously and continuously raised the number of students taking AP classes while improving successful outcomes (a score of 3 or higher) on AP exams, with 42 percent of all AP students scoring a 3 or higher in 2016;
- Increased student participation in AP by 17 percent annually and the percentage of students scoring a 3 or higher on at least one AP exam by 4 percent annually; and
- Increased the percentage of traditionally underrepresented minority AP students earning a 3 or higher on at least one AP exam by 5 percent annually – an increase of 101 students since 2014.
Ninety-six percent or more of the AP students in Lynwood Unified School District are American Indian, African American, Hispanic/Latino or Native Hawaiian/other Pacific Islander. In addition, more than 94 percent of the AP students in the district qualify for free or reduced-price lunches.
Increasing access to AP coursework while increasing the percentage of students earning scores of 3 or higher is the ideal scenario for a district’s AP program, indicating that the district is preparing a larger array of its students for the rigor of AP and college studies. Participating in AP coursework can also lead to college savings for families, as the typical student who scores a 3 or higher on two AP exams has the potential to save, on average, $1,779 at a public four-year college and more than $6,000 at a private institution.
In addition to celebratory events at the district level, all three winning districts will be honored at the 2017 AP Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. in July.
In 2017, more than 3,900 colleges and universities around the world received AP scores for college credit, Advanced Placement and/or consideration in the admission process, with many colleges and universities in the U.S. offering credit in one or more subjects for qualifying AP scores.
“This award shows that Lynwood Unified School District is challenging many students to achieve at the highest levels,” said Trevor Packer, head of the College Board’s AP Program. “The teachers and administrators in this district are clearly committed to ensuring that a more diverse population of students attains the benefits of AP – that they gain confidence, learn how to craft and defend arguments, earn college credit, and are ready to succeed in college. Congratulations to all the educators, parents, and students whose dedication and hard work are behind this well-deserved recognition.”