Hollister High School was recently notified by the College Board that it has been named to the Advanced Placement (AP) Program Honor Roll, earning bronze recognition for developing an AP program that creates a college-going culture and gives students opportunities to earn college credit and maximize their college outcomes, according to the San Benito High School District.
Hollister High is also being honored with the 2023 AP Access Award for ensuring AP coursework is equally available to students no matter their background.
In 2019, Hollister High School was one of 17 schools in California and among 250 in the nation and Canada named to the 10th annual AP District Honor Roll, says a press release from SBHSD.
Trevor Packer, the College Board’s senior vice president for AP instruction, said the AP School Honor Roll “recognizes schools that have done outstanding work to welcome more students into AP courses and support them on the path to college success.”
Among last year’s graduating class at Hollister High School, 41% took at least one AP exam during their four years on campus and 31% of Class of 2023 grads scored a 3 or higher on one of those exams. Additionally, 68 students—or 9% of the graduating class—took five or more AP exams, with at least one of those tests taken during freshman or sophomore year.
The AP program at Hollister High School 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. Twenty-eight teachers on campus teach at least one AP class.
This year, more than a quarter of HHS students (874) are enrolled in at least one of the school’s 60 sections of 21 different AP courses, says the press release. Not counting freshmen, who don’t take Advanced Placement courses, nearly 34% of all sophomores, juniors and seniors are enrolled in at least one AP course.
Principal Kevin Medeiros called Hollister High School’s recognition as an AP Honor Roll “nothing short of awesome. It is also even more impressive that we earned an AP Access Award, a testament to our commitment to inclusivity and expanding opportunities for all students.”
Medeiros noted that honor is an affirmation of the school’s focus on post-secondary options for students.
“This remarkable achievement is a direct reflection of our exceptional teaching staff, who go above and beyond to nurture academic excellence,” he said. “It is also a tribute to our hard-working students who embrace the challenges of AP coursework, and it’s a testament to the unwavering support of our parents and guardians, who stand by their side every step of the way. Together, we are shaping a future filled with boundless possibilities, where every student can reach their full potential.”
Elaine Klauer, SBHSD Assistant Superintendent for Academics and Instructional Program, said the AP Honor Roll accolade “acknowledges the school’s exceptional efforts to expand access to AP courses and provide support to students pursuing their college goals.”
Hollister High has nearly eliminated the opportunity gap for Latino students, as the percentage of Latino and White students enrolled in AP classes continues to reflect the overall percentage they represent in the student population, adds the press release.
“AP represents an opportunity for students to stand out to college, earn college credit and placement, and potentially boost their grade point averages,” Packer said. “The schools have shown they can expand access to these college-level courses and still drive high performance. They represent the best of our AP program.”
Claire Grissom, SBHSD Coordinator of Career and College Readiness, said the district continues to ensure that its mission statement that students reach their full potential so that all options are available to them upon graduation includes access to earning college credits while still in high school.
“The AP courses and tests are the traditional way students access college credit for four-year institutions and SBHSD is committed to expanding access to college credit for traditionally underrepresented students through articulation and dual enrollment in college courses while still enrolled in high school,” Grissom said.
Christine Dukes, a teacher in Hollister High School’s AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) program, noted that many Hollister High School students are from populations that are underrepresented on college campuses, either because of ethnicity or socioeconomic status.
“AP courses allow these students access to college-level material, but at a pace that allows them to be involved in all the facets of high school: extracurricular activities, athletics, work experience,” Dukes said. “Furthermore, the amount and variety of AP classes allows students to explore their diverse interests. At Hollister High School, we are all about allowing our students a multitude of options, so STEM-focused students can take math and science AP classes, and humanities and social science-oriented students can take AP classes in language, history and literature. Even art students have AP Studio Art as an option!”
Dukes added that what she “really appreciates about our high school is that we encourage all students to try classes that are out of their comfort zone in a safe and nurturing environment. This is why in AVID we require students to challenge themselves with advanced classes. This gives students not only a taste of what they might expect in college, but potentially college credit as well.”
SBHSD Superintendent Dr. Shawn Tennenbaum said, “We are continuing to invest in student success at all levels. From the Board of Trustees to students, we see the outcomes of our educational investments coming to fruition. What better way to measure our success than through our students and their success? Our students continue to rise to the occasion every single day. This typifies everything we believe in.”
The AP honor is recognition of what the superintendent calls “an incredible team effort by all members of our school community. Everyone should be proud, because every contribution is a contribution that makes a difference for every student.”