Federal Way Public Schools selected for AP Honor Roll

Federal Way Public Schools (FWPS) joined 17 other Washington state school districts, and 539 nationally, with its inclusion on the College Board's "AP Honor Roll."

Districts achieve this honor by increasing the number of students participating in Advanced Placement (AP) courses, while simultaneously increasing the number of students achieving a score of 3 or higher on the AP exams.

FWPS Superintendent Rob Neu shared the news during the school board meeting on Nov. 13, saying this was the first time FWPS had been included in the Honor Roll's three-year history.

"We showed significant gains in the number of our students taking AP courses, and the test, and performing on those tests," Neu said. "That's quite the accomplishment. We joined a small list of Washington school districts to achieve this designation."

Among the other Washington state school districts to be placed on the honor roll were Archdiocese of Seattle, Auburn School District, Bellingham School District, Camas School District, Cheney Public Schools, Clover Park School District, Issaquah School District, Lake Washington School District, Nine Mile Falls School District, Northshore School District, Richland School District, Ridgefield School District, Riverview School District, Snoqualmie Valley Public Schools, Spokane Public Schools, Steilacoom Historical School District #1 and Tahoma School District #409.

The total number of 539 schools is the highest number for the Honor Roll's short history. College Board president David Coleman said the improved numbers show the hard work of districts and educators.

"We applaud the extraordinary efforts of the devoted teachers and administrators in these 539 districts, who are fostering rigorous work worth doing," Coleman said. "These educators have not only expanded student access to AP course work, but they have enabled more of their students to achieve on a college level-which is helping to create a strong college-going culture."

In Federal Way, much of the increase in participation and testing results can probably be credited to the district's Accelerated Academics program, which was instituted in recent years. That program automatically enrolls students into advanced classes like AP or Cambridge, if students hit a certain metric on standardized testing.

The program was intended to help increase the numbers of students of color that participate in the more advanced classes. According to district statistics, the program has been successful so far.

Trevor Packer, the College Board's senior vice president for the Advanced Placement program, credited innovative policies like Accelerated Academics for the increase in student participation in AP courses and exams across all socioeconomic and racial boundaries.

"There has been a great victory among educators who have believed that a more diverse population could succeed in AP courses. In 2012, AP scores were higher than they'd been since 2004, when one million fewer students were being given access," Packer said. "These outcomes are a powerful testament to educators' belief that many more students were indeed ready and waiting for the sort of rigor that would prepare them for what they would encounter in college. While we recognize that there is still much work to be done to prepare students for college, I find myself inspired daily by what they are achieving."

Neu noted that a College Board representative will be at the next board meeting on Nov. 27 to present the district with a token of this achievement.


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