The Dallas Independent School District is stepping up its support for Advanced Placement courses and now more students than ever are enrolled in them. This year, more than 21,000 students are enrolled in AP courses, which is believed to be an all-time high.
For the first time, $1 million has been allocated in the school district budget to pay for student AP exam fees and prep sessions.
“It is clear that Dallas ISD students are benefitting from taking AP courses and exams so it makes sense to provide even more support for this program,” said Superintendent of Schools Mike Miles. “We saw a 14% increase in the number of AP exams passed by our students in 2014 over the previous year. The 2,637 exams passed are more than double what our students passed in 2005. As we work to graduate college and career-ready students through our Destination 2020 plan, we only want to see that success grow.”
The district now provides a minimum of four core AP courses at every high school campus. Next year, instructional support will be expanded to include AP social studies, which had previously not been provided.
Part of what has driven Dallas ISD’s success on AP exams has been support from the philanthropic community. Both the Texas Instruments Foundation and Peter O’Donnell Foundation have provided financial incentives to students, and their teachers and principals, for earning qualifying scores on AP exams. These incentives have helped drive increased participation in AP courses, as well as significant increases in the number of AP exams that students from Dallas ISD pass.
The current grant from the TI and O’Donnell Foundations runs through the end of this school year. As part of its annual review of education grants, the TI Foundation will consider this spring how it will support AP and other programs that contribute to Dallas ISD student success. The district has not turned down an AP Incentive grant from the TI Foundation and is actively working to sustain the results of the program.
“The TI Foundation and O’Donnell Foundation have been instrumental in fueling Dallas ISD’s success in AP programs,” said Deputy Superintendent Ann Smisko, whose department manages the grant. “We continue to be very appreciative of their ongoing support and look forward to discussions about how we can not only maintain the quality of our AP programs but grow them as well.”