An Educator’s Toolkit for Broadening Access to the AP Program
More than 60 people fill the Orlando presentation room where Dixie Ross, a semiretired AP Calculus AB/BC teacher, sticks blank, oversized sheets of paper to the walls. We’ll later find out that seven stations are set up, corresponding to each of the seven strategies for broadening access to AP.
Along with other AP teachers, Ross developed the strategies with fellow presenter Shawn Jenkins, director of strategic partnerships in College Board’s AP and Instruction division.
A stack of blue printed booklets greets folks entering the room. “Everyone, please take one,” Ross motions before introducing herself as an AP Calculus teacher of 30 years. The booklet is a toolkit for educators and school leaders—detailing practical methods for fostering a culture of inclusion with their students.
The toolkit, as Jenkins explains, was created to help teachers improve diversity within their AP classrooms and create more opportunities for students of all demographics to participate in advanced coursework.
“I’m going to ask you all to get up in a moment,” says Ross, shepherding attendees into the session’s interactive portion. In groups of 7–12, they’re tasked with creating a 2-minute mock pitch to an administrator about how and why their assigned strategy benefits their school.
Here’s where the toolkit booklets come in. Flipping through the pages, the groups find explainers, timelines, conversation starters, worksheets, examples of activities, sample event flyers, and more—everything they need to build their pitches.
It’s 8:30 in the morning. The first session on the last day of Forum 2022. You’d think the room might be tired and groggy.
Quite the opposite.
People flock to their assigned stations. Quickly, each group puts on their brainstorming hats. Not an unfamiliar activity for them; after all, the room is packed mainly with educators. What were once blank sticky notes at the beginning of the session have now transformed into clusters of ideas and solutions expressed with thick black, blue, and purple markers.
Each group presents their pitches to well-earned applause around the room. Well-earned because the session gets educators thinking and making connections to their own schools.
One attendee reflects on the session, “This is so practical. I feel like I can take these ideas and implement them tomorrow.”
Another responds, “I love that I can point to an action plan backed by College Board and I can tell my school, ‘Hey, here’s a model for success.’”
At 9:30, the room clears. And with it, the stack of Broadening Access to AP toolkits leaves in the hands of AP educators.
Presenters Dixie Ross (left) and Shawn Jenkins (right)