The Challenge of Creating Schools That ‘Work for Everybody’

School tries the concept of allowing students to Self-Nominate into AP classes, also AP class meets with standard track, and students can also leave AP class easily.

Article Link: The Challenge of Creating Schools That ‘Work for Everybody’

One thing it means is a big push to open the doors of AP classrooms to everyone, not just the white, affluent students who disproportionately fill those chairs. That work is complex, slow-moving, and far from finished.

At tables in the sunny lunchtime commons, brown, black, and white students offer many stories of counselors and teachers who encourage them to try higher-level classes. But that sense of freedom and support isn’t universal.

“They don’t treat people the same,” said an African-American girl who declined to give her name, even though she takes AP classes.

“They kind of size you up, like if they think you’re going to a four-year college, they’re like, ‘AP’s hard, but keep trying.’ If they think you’re maybe just going to community college, it’s more like, ‘Sure, if AP’s too hard, don’t do it.’ “

Entire senior class at D.C.’s Ballou High School applies to college

Higher expectations from admin encourages entire senior class to apply for college.

Article Link: Entire senior class at D.C.’s Ballou High School applies to college

Ballou ranks among the city’s lowest-performing high schools on core measures.

Its graduation rate last school year, 57 percent, was second-lowest among regular schools in the D.C. Public Schools system, behind Anacostia High’s rate of 42 percent. (That comparison doesn’t include alternative schools.) Last school year, 3 percent of Ballou students tested met reading standards on citywide standardized exams. Almost none met math standards.

Despite these challenges, administrators said it was the Class of 2017 that decided all seniors would apply to college. The students themselves set the ambitious goal last spring. Administrators say they never doubted the students would meet it.