Denver Public Schools Named Top AP Large District, Other State Districts on Honor Roll
Denver Public Schools on Thursday was recognized as the Advanced Placement District of the Year among the nation's largest school districts, an honor given to the district for how it expanded access to AP courses while increasing improvement on AP exams.
According to the College Board, the district had the world's largest increases in participation from 2013 to 2015 as well as the world's largest increase in the number of students who scored a 3 or better on exams. Denver received the largest district award, which is given to districts with 50,000 or more students. Two other districts around the nation earned similar honors based on their enrollment sizes.
“The award is a testament to the hard work of Denver’s teachers and students who are pushing academic achievement to the highest levels,” said Colorado Education Commissioner Richard Crandall. “Taking AP courses allows high school students to attain knowledge and build skills used in colleges and careers. We are proud DPS continues to encourage its students to strive for this high level of success.”
Crandall, DPS students, teachers, district and school administrators and College Board leadership celebrated the achievements at an event at Thomas Jefferson High School.
In 2015, 2,128 DPS students took at least one AP test or 48.6 percent of the district’s 12th-graders. Of those, 1,009 scored a 3 or higher, or 23.1 percent of all the students in the 12th grade.
Other highlights for Denver:
- The number of students participating in AP grew 12 percent a year between 2013 and 2015
- The percentage of students scoring a 3 or higher on at least one AP test grew by 5 percent a year between 2013 and 2015
- The number of traditionally underserved minority AP students who scored a 3 or higher on at least one AP exam grew by 10 percent annually between 2013 and 2015, an increase of 314 students since 2013.
Marlen Saucedo, a student from Bruce Randolph School, said he is excited to be a part of the district’s success.
“As a Hispanic student, it feels amazing to be here today and to help Hispanics advance in this country,” Saucedo said. “Last year I took three AP classes and this year I am taking a total of five AP classes.”
DPS was one of 425 school districts across the United States and Canada named to sixth annual College Board’s annual AP District Honor Roll, a list that also includes Colorado’s East Grand School District 2, Roaring Fork School District RE-1, Steamboat Springs School District RE-2, Telluride School District R-1, Weld County School District RE-1 Gilcrest, Weld County School District RE-2 Eaton and Weld County School District RE-5J Johnston-Milken.
Paul Freeman, principal of Glenwood Springs High School in Roaring Fork School District RE-1, said skilled and determined teachers can guide nontraditional AP students to the mastery of academics and continued success.
“We know that participation in rigorous high-school classes makes a statistically significant improvement to a student's chances of success in college and, of course, in life,” Freeman said. “We were very fortunate to secure the expertise and financial backing of the Colorado Education Initiative, whose staff first alerted us to the possibility of student success through the AP route, and who have supported us every step of the way.”