SBHS makes national honor roll

One of 17 CA districts honored for improving access to AP courses

San Benito High School was recently notified that it is one of 17 districts in California and among just 250 in the US and Canada named to the 10th annual AP District Honor Roll for achieving increases in access to Advanced Placement courses for more students while maintaining or improving the rate at which students earned scores of 3 or higher on an AP exam.

According to a statement from CollegeBoard, which is in charge of AP testing, the honor roll recognizes school districts that “are committed to expanding the availability of AP courses among prepared and motivated students of all backgrounds.”

The Advanced Placement program at SBHS offers college-level courses and exams that provide an opportunity for students to earn college credit, develop time management and critical thinking skills and prepare for college-level work. An increase in the availability of courses has allowed enrollment in AP courses to jump by nearly 400 students in the past six years, leading to a subsequent increase in the number of students taking the exams that can earn them college credits while still in high school.

More than one in four SBHS students (803) are enrolled in an AP course this year, and the school’s nearly 70 percent AP exam pass rate in 2018-19 outperformed both the state and global rates for the third consecutive year.

Mathematics Department Chairman Dan Quinn said not just the entire school but the community should take pride in the Advanced Placement Honor Roll accomplishment.  

“San Benito High School is one of a select few high schools that have increased participation in college level courses while maintaining (or increasing) the quality of results over a period of three years. I would imagine that SBHS is actually in the top 1 percent of all schools nationwide.”

Principal Adrian Ramirez said the District Honor Roll recognition “is truly a collective effort from our students, parents, staff and board of trustees. We operate with the belief that any student who wants to challenge themselves by taking an advanced level course has a right to do so. It is then our responsibility to set up the structure and support to ensure equitable access and preparation for AP courses is a reality for all students.” The high school provides $30,000 each year for AP exam fee assistance.    

History teacher Christopher Lasley said, “When you look at most high schools across the nation, the student makeup of AP-level classes does not reflect the diversity of the general student population, and so I’m proud to work at an institution that is significantly closing the access gap for our highly-motivated students.”

Senior Ella Pascua, who has taken nine AP classes at SBHS between her sophomore year and this year, said that as a first-generation college-bound student, she has appreciated the academically rigorous courses and the encouragement from teachers to challenge herself in the classroom.

“These courses are fast-paced, similar to college,” said Pascua, who plans to pursue a business administration major in college and “adapt my major to create social change in the world.”                                                                           

Earlier this school year, it was announced that 73 San Benito High School students were named AP Scholars for the 2018-19 school year for earning scores of 3 or higher on three or more AP exams.

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