College Board honors AP growth

Zero-point-oh-three percent. That Carlsbad defeated the odds is no understatement. Out of 13,809 school districts, the College Board honored Carlsbad, as well as 476 others, on the Fourth AP District Honor Roll.

“When you think of an honor roll, you think of achievement, but the AP District Honor Roll requires opening your doors and accepting more kids into your program, while maintaining a high achievement level,” Dr. Steitz said. “Over the course of the last two years, we’ve really increased the number of students who are taking our AP program classes, and our pass rate has remained very high, around 80 percent overall.”

Steitz credits much of this success to AVID, a program that prepares students for their ideal future: college. About ten years ago, a period when only one AVID student was enrolled in AP English, the educators decided to incorporate honors and AP classes into their curriculum.

“We decided all AVID students would take ninth grade honors English. As they got to tenth and eleventh grade, we really convinced them that they were capable of taking AP classes,” AVID teacher Mr. Spanier said. “We talked to the AP teachers to find flexibility. We’re giving them some students who may not be as skilled as they’re used to. They may not get fives on their test. They might not even pass the test, but they’ll do the work, take notes and do the reading.”

Having participated in the college-prep program since freshman year, junior Quentin Reynoso appreciates Mrs. Britton, Mr. Tamayo and Mr. Spanier for guiding his high school career and encouraging him to pursue AP.

“The AVID teachers definitely are a really big influence on the classes I’ve been taking,” Reynoso said. “I think that all of the AVID coordinators really want what’s best for their students, and they motivate kids to do their best.”

While Steitz gives kudos to AVID, Spanier praises the AP teachers themselves for Carlsbad High’s success in creating an open-door policy. As for schools that install a closed-door policy toward AP enrollment–while their pass rates may be exceptionally high–they are denying students the chance to challenge themselves and possibly discover a serious career option.

“It really comes down to the flexibility of our AP teachers. They know both how to be very rigorous and meet the highest standards, but to also prepare the students in multiple ways and find flexibility when a student’s struggling,” Spanier said. “We went from a program that said very few students got to take AP classes–a gifted few–to where we are at now, which is if you’re willing to do the work, come on in.”