Maricopa Unified School District was one of four Arizona school districts receiving national recognition for its advanced placement program.
MUSD was named to the College Board’s seventh annual Advanced Placement District Honor Roll. Other Arizona school districts are Vail, Tucson Unified and Diocese of Phoenix Catholic Schools.
“I am honored to congratulate these four Arizona school districts on their hard work to enhance student learning through their progressive Advanced Placement Programs,” state Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas said in a statement. “This accomplishment highlights the dedication of both students and teachers in their efforts to reach the highest levels of academic achievement.”
To be included on the honor roll, school districts were studied on three years of data, 2014-2016
Schools were judged on increased participation in and access to AP courses (at least 4 percent in large districts, 6 percent in medium districts and 11 percent in small districts), increased percentage of minority students scoring at least a 3 on an AP exam and increased percentage of students scoring a 3 or higher from 2014 to 2016.
The percentage of students who qualify for a free or reduced-price lunch is also considered.
MUSD Superintendent Steve Chestnut said the high school increased its AP offerings from 8 to 11. “I think that’s a new high for us,” he said.
In Maricopa, under-represented minority students – defined as “African-American, Hispanic/Latino and American Indian/Alaska Native” – are in the majority. Chestnut said the school has a white population of 36 percent. And 57 percent of students are considered low-income.
“We try to send more and more teachers to AP training,” Chestnut said.
As part of the district’s strategic plan, the district budgeted for the extra training and AP textbooks to provide more access to the advanced courses.
“We are pleased we scored well,” Chestnut said.
In AP exams, a score of 2 will allow high school credit but not college credit. A score of 3 or 4 provides college credit.
MUSD was among 433 districts in the United States and Canada to qualify for the honor roll.