Bellingham Public Schools

Bellingham Public Schools Named to 3rd Annual AP® District Honor Roll


For the second straight year, Bellingham Public Schools is on the College Board’s AP District Honor Roll. The district is one of 539 school districts across the country being honored for increasing  students' access to Advanced Placement® coursework while simultaneously increasing the percentage of students earning scores of 3 or higher on AP Exams. Achieving both of these goals is the ideal scenario for a district’s AP program because it indicates success in identifying motivated, academically prepared students who are likely to benefit most from rigorous AP coursework. Since 2010, our high schools have increased the number of students participating in AP by 18 percent while improving the percentage of students earning AP Exam scores of 3 or higher by 1 percent.   

More than 90 percent of colleges and universities across the U.S. offer college credit, advanced placement or both for a score of 3 or above on an AP Exam — which can potentially save students and their families thousands of dollars in college tuition.

“The College Board Advanced Placement program is one way we can externally measure the progress and efforts of our students and staff in Bellingham Public Schools,” says Keith Schacht, Squalicum High School principal, “and it is truly an honor to be recognized on the 2012 AP Honor Roll. 

“With the intentional support of our Pre-AP and AP teachers, our students have proven that they are not only taking on the challenge of our most rigorous coursework, but consistently score well on their AP Exams as compared to national results,” Schacht continues.  “Although the invitation is open to all students to participate in one or more Advanced Placement classes while in high school, as we move toward course registration this March we are looking forward to the challenge of reaching and engaging many more students.”         

Data shows that among African-American, Hispanic and Native American students with a high degree of readiness for AP, only about half of students are participating, often because their school does not yet offer the AP course. A continued commitment to expanding the availability of AP courses among prepared and motivated students of all backgrounds is a high priority.

Helping more students learn at a higher level and earn higher AP scores is an objective of all members of the AP community, from AP teachers to district and school administrators to college professors. Many districts are experimenting with a variety of initiatives and strategies to determine how to expand access and improve student performance simultaneously.

Inclusion on the 3rd Annual AP District Honor Roll is based on the examination of three years of AP data, from 2010 to 2012, for the following criteria. Districts must:

  • Increase participation/access to AP by at least 4 percent in large districts, at least 6 percent in medium districts and at least 11 percent in small districts;
  • Ensure that the percentage of African American, Hispanic/Latino and American Indian/Alaska Native students taking AP Exams did not decrease by more than 5 percent for large and medium districts or by more than 10 percent for small districts; and
  • Improve performance levels when comparing the percentage of students in 2012 scoring a 3 or higher to those in 2010, unless the district has already attained a performance level in which more than 70 percent of the AP students are scoring a 3 or higher.

When these outcomes have been achieved among an AP student population made up of 30 percent or more underrepresented minority students (Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian/Alaska Native) and/or 30 percent or more low-income students (students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch), school districts receive this recognition.

The complete 3rd Annual AP District Honor Roll can be found here.