Underrepresented Minorities in AP Classes

MHS has partnered with the Equal Opportunities School (EOS) program, funded by Google, to increase the number of underrepresented students in Advanced Placement (AP) classes, according to Principal Kenneth Schlaff. In exchange for increasing the number of underrepresented students in AP class, the program will award MHS money, Schlaff added.

The program works to add more Whites, Filipinos, African Americans, and Latinos in MHS AP classes, as well as low-income Asians, Schlaff said. These underrepresented groups were determined through a survey given to the student body, and it also identified students with the potential to succeed in AP classes, according to Schlaff.

“If you have taken an Advanced Placement class, it goes up dramatically – the chances to graduate from a four-year college,” Schlaff said, after mentioning that only 30% of students that enter a four-year college graduate.

There are many reasons that students do not take AP classes; first, some students do not wish to mess up their grade point average, according to Schlaff. Second, some are not comfortable attending because they, being different than the other students, have no classmates with whom they can study or talk; third, other students have a lack of experience that they do not wish to experience, Schlaff continued. Last, these students may also have a lack of information about AP classes, Schlaff said.

“We have become a partner with [EOS Program], and what they have done is that survey to get us information of that underrepresented groups,” Schlaff said.

The students that the administration wishes to recruit into AP classes have factors that make them ideal for the workload and difficulty of these classes, according to Schlaff. MHS’s goal, set by EOS, is 226 more underrepresented students in AP classes, and the administration will meet with these students to encourage them to join AP classes, Schlaff continued.

“A number of students that are identified through that survey that are applicable either through grade point average, resiliency, or a number of factors that they have within them that will allow them to be able to go and meet the demands of an AP class,” Schlaff said.

Previously, the attempts to fix the issue of low numbers of underrepresented students in AP classes were not very well structured; MHS, in the past and currently, has Horizontes, student unions, and discussions with counselors and teachers to ensure no student is left behind, Schlaff said. In the future, Schlaff wants to add more structure, such as boot camps, peer tutoring, after school help, and an AP Class Coordinator, Schlaff added.

MHS is doing better than other high schools in the diversity of groups taking AP classes, as MHS is an honor roll school, according to Schlaff. Our pass rate at 76% is higher than the state and global norm, and our AP class enrollment rate is increasing dramatically. Five years ago, it was 700, but now it is 1300 currently, Schlaff continued.

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