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LCAP Spotlight: Opening doors to advanced academic programs

476 more underrepresented students in AP/IB 14% Goal 1 in San Juan Unified’s district plan, called the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP), focuses on making sure that ALL students are college and career ready.  But readiness isn’t enough. Research shows that taking one or more courses with college-level expectations in high school increases your chance of graduating from college.

Since 2014, LCAP actions have created a foundation to increase the number of students taking challenging coursework in high school - typically, an Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) course. Enrollment in these courses is more common for students with a family history of attending college. San Juan Unified’s goal is to remove barriers for low-income students and students of color who are interested in AP and IB courses, moving toward greater equity in schools.

Schools started by having all 10th and 11th graders take the PSAT for free during the school day. The results show students what is expected for college and offer access to personalized help to prepare for college. Results also identify areas where a student has the potential to succeed in advanced classes. 

Next, San Juan Unified partnered with Equal Opportunity Schools to identify, recruit and support students who might not otherwise enroll in an AP/IB course. Surveys help students identify goals and areas of interest and help adults identify students with potential in specific areas of study. Other data is also used to identify additional students who have the skills to succeed in an advanced course.

The results are astounding. In the first year:

  • The percent of low income/students of color enrolled in an AP or IB course increased from 26 percent to 40 percent (476 more students)
  • Low-income student enrollment increased from 479 to 751Mesa Verde male graduate
  • Enrollment of students of color increased from 413 to 806
  • New courses like AP World History were added and others, including AP Psychology and Environmental Science, were expanded.

Enrollment is just the beginning. Schools are now focused on supporting students in AP/IB courses to ensure their success while outreach begins for the next group of students. Achieving equity means changing the culture - it starts with a belief in ALL students. For more information about enrolling your high school student in advanced courses, talk to your high school counselor. 

San Juan Unified’s Local Control and Accountability Plan shows how funds are being spent in support of students. The plan can be accessed at www.sanjuan.edu/lcap.