Los Fresnos CISD Named AP District of the Year

Los Fresnos CISD Named AP District of the Year
Posted on 02/25/2020
This is the image for the news article titled Los Fresnos CISD Named AP District of the YearLos Fresnos Consolidated Independent School District in Texas has been named a recipient of the 2020 College Board Advanced Placement District of the Year.

Los Fresnos CISD is this year's national leader among medium-sized school districts — defined as having between 8,000 and 49,999 students. The award is given to three school districts annually who expanded access to Advanced Placement Program courses while simultaneously improving AP Exam performance – particularly for traditionally underrepresented minority students.

Los Fresnos CISD students, teachers, district and school administrators, and College Board leadership celebrated the achievement at Los Fresnos High School on Tuesday.

Los Fresnos CISD was one of 250 school districts across the U.S. and Canada that achieved placement on the annual AP District Honor Roll. Twenty-five Texas school districts were honored, including two others from the Rio Grande Valley.

From this list, three AP Districts of the Year — one for each category of district population size: small, medium, and large — were selected based on an analysis of three academic years of AP data.

Superintendent Gonzalo Salazar told the audience that while AP exams are taken in high school, preparation begins much earlier.

"The journey to this juncture has been several years in the making," Salazar said. "This celebration takes place at the high school but preparing our students to perform at this level begins during our student’s elementary years, it continues in middle school and then, this preparation is taken to a whole other level at Los Fresnos High School."

Los Fresnos CISD has seen a significant increase in student performance and participation year after year. In 2019, Los its students took more than 400 individual tests across 18 different subject areas. Students achieved passing percentages above Texas and global passing percentages on 14 of the 18 subject tests they challenged.

Students earned college credit by demonstrating mastery of the learning objectives with passing rates of 80 percent or better on: Advanced Placement Statistics, U.S. History, Spanish, Physics, Biology, and Calculus. Thirty-nine of those students earned the recognition of AP Scholar.

“Earning this award shows that Los Fresnos CISD is consistently challenging many students to achieve at the highest levels,” said Trevor Packer, head of the College Board’s AP Program. “The teachers and administrators in this district are clearly committed to ensuring that a more diverse population of students attains the benefits of AP through success in a wide variety of AP subjects."

The award is a result of a joint effort by educators, parents, and students whose dedication and hard work have driven this well-deserved recognition.

From 2017 to 2019, Los Fresnos CISD:
  • Simultaneously and continuously increased the number of students taking AP classes while improving successful outcomes (a score of 3 or higher) on AP Exams, with 71 percent of all AP students scoring a 3 or higher on at least one exam in 2019;
  • Increased student participation in AP by 7 percent annually and the percentage of students scoring a 3 or higher on at least one AP Exam by 5 percent annually; and
  • Increased the percentage of traditionally underrepresented minority AP students earning a 3 or higher on at least one AP Exam by 5 percent annually — an increase of 37 students since 2017.
Los Fresnos CISD is one of four Texas districts to earn this honor in the past decade, and is the first for a school district south of San Antonio. The other three school districts in Texas who received the award previously were:
  • North East ISD (San Antonio), Medium District, 2013
  • Irving ISD, Medium District, 2015
  • Katy ISD, Large District, 2019
Increasing access to AP course work while simultaneously increasing the percentage of students earning scores of 3 or higher is the ideal scenario for a district’s AP program, indicating that the district is successfully preparing a larger array of its students for the rigor of AP and college studies.

Participating in AP course work can also lead to college savings for families because the typical student who scores a 3 or higher on two AP Exams has the potential to save, on average, $1,779 at a public four-year college and over $6,000 at a private institution.

In addition to celebratory events at the district level, all three winning districts will be honored in Boston, Mass. during the 2020 AP Annual Conference in July.

In 2019, more than 4,000 colleges and universities around the world received AP scores for college credit, advanced placement, and/or consideration in the admission process, with many colleges and universities in the U.S. offering credit in one or more subjects for qualifying AP scores.

Salazar praised the students at the ceremony Tuesday. 

"While they are still in high school, students are making conscious decisions about their futures," he said. "They are demonstrating the willingness to make sacrifices. They are staying up late, revising and editing essays, applying formulas and scientific theory to make sense of the world around them and ultimately honing the skills needed for post-secondary success. We thank our students for what they have achieved through hard work."
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