AP Annual Conference 2023

Addressing Disproportionality in Advanced-Level Coursework

In this session, leaders of the South Huntington School District (SHSD), Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction John Murphy, Assistant to the Superintendent for Elementary Education Gayle Steele, and Assistant Principal Scott Muller discussed their implementation of the Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education (CR-S) framework and how they’ve been able to close the opportunity gap for underrepresented student populations in their district.

To ensure access to rigorous instruction for all students, SHSD offered intensive professional development for their staff, developed an inclusive curriculum, and created a culture of high expectations for student success.

The district implemented programs and strategies to increase the number of students taking AP courses, including their Voluntary Advanced Preparation (VAP) program. VAP identified 5th-grade students ready to participate in preparation work for middle school honors classes and Pre-AP. They held parent and student summer workshops and built support classes into their middle-school programming.

In addition to VAP, the district developed academic academies to give extra support to students on weekdays and weekends. They also created math and literacy labs and offered online support systems such as Apex Learning and Albert. 

SHSD saw excellent growth in the number of students of color who were taking AP Exams. The number of Hispanic students grew by 30%. The number of black students doubled within the last five years. The district attributes this extraordinary success to their focus on three initiatives. They provided ongoing support and professional development for their staff, collected and implemented feedback and buy-in from all stakeholders (administrators, teachers, students, parents, community, and Board of Education), and created support systems that fit the needs of their student body.