Unit 1 commended for advanced academic offerings


Gains in advanced placement (AP) access and success have earned the Unit 1 School District and 10 others in the state a spot on the 10th annual AP District Honor Roll.
The College Board named 250 districts across the country to the prestigious Honor Roll this year. Districts on the AP Honor Roll have significantly increased access to AP among historically underrepresented student groups, while maintaining or improving the percentage of students who earned scores of three or higher on AP Exams.
“Over the past decade, our school district has made a concerted effort to provide a challenging and rigorous curriclum to our students,” said Unit 1 Superintendent Dr. Kent Bugg.
“One component of those efforts was to begin offering advanced placement courses to our high school students, which started with the implementation of AP calculus over 10 years ago,” the superintendent staid.
The program has grown to now offer 10 different AP courses to students.
“Under the direction of the district’s director of curriclum and instruction, Tammy Elledge, the department leaders and the teachers have taken ownership of our AP program and continue to expand offerings and student enrollment in these challenging and valuable academic experiences,” Bugg said.
Along with calculus, students at Coal City High School can enroll in AP English: Literature and compostion, chemistry, studio art, computer sciences, human geography, world history, U.S. history, spanish and biology that is hosted by Wilmington High School.
Bugg reports the district has plans to further grow the program to a dozen AP offerings starting with the 2020-2021 school year.
According to the announcement of the this year’s honor roll districts, the Illinois State Board of Education reports the state is investing more in AP and notes Governor JB Pritzker’s fiscal year 2020 budget included $2.5 million for AP Exam fee waivers for students with limited resources and for grants for schools to develop and implement AP courses.
ISBE’s 2019 Illinois Report Card showed four years of continuous growth in students’ access to and success in advanced placement.
“Every child in Illinois deserves access to a quality education that will put them on the path to success, regardless of their background or zip code,” said Pritzker. “By removing common hurdles like fees that prevent students from participating and budget restraints that prevent schools from offering Advanced Placement classes, we can ensure that all our students have all the tools they need to achieve their full potential – especially getting college credit before they graduate from high school.”
Participation in AP gives students an edge in pursuing their college and career goals. Scoring a three or higher on an AP Exam can earn college credit for students, potentially making college more affordable and allowing students to take a greater number of advanced or elective courses or to graduate early.
In 2019, more than 4,000 colleges and universities around the world permitted AP scores for college credit, advanced placement, or both, and/or consideration in the admissions process.
“The achievements of Illinois students in Advanced Placement courses make us proud. Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois State Board of Education continue to support districts in opening doors and breaking down barriers for all students to have access to AP courses. The state’s investments in AP access helps to ensure that each and every student has the resources and rigor they need to reach their goals after high school,” said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carmen I. Ayala.
Named to the honor roll along with Unit 1 were: Barrington Community Unit School District 220, Central Community Unit School District 301 in Burlington, Community Unit School District 95 in Lake Zurich, Edwardsville Community Unit School District 7, O’Fallon Township School District 203, Reavis Township High School District 220 in Burbank, Saint Charles Community Unit School District 303, Sherrard Community School District 200, Township High School District 211 in Palatine and United Township High School District 30 in East Moline
Inclusion on the 10th annual AP District Honor Roll is based on the College Board’s review of three years of AP data, from 2017 to 2019, looking across 38 AP exams, including world language and culture.
“Our school district is very proud to be one of the 11 school districts in Illinois and only 250 school districts across the country to be recognized on the College Board's 10th Annual AP District Honor Roll,” Bugg said.