Dr. Ketta Garduno
Executive Director for Curriculum & Instruction
The College Prep Initiative is a cooperative effort between the students, faculty, administration, and the community to develop high standards and provide measurable results for student achievement. A partnership between the Abilene ISD and an individual donor enhances opportunities for students to earn college credit while enrolled in high school Advanced Placement (AP) courses.
The initiative aligns perfectly with Abilene ISD’s strategic priorities:
- to develop a culture, climate and environment that values collaboration,
- to make classrooms more meaningful and relevant for students and teachers through cultivation of strengths and passions, and to
- to build partnerships with parents and the greater community.
Abilene ISD’s program consists of several components. Pre-AP classes in English, history, math, and science begin in middle school equipping students with essential skills necessary for their future success on the AP exams. While the AP exam is national, the curriculum is maintained at the local level. There are high standards maintained by the College Board, and the results are extremely measurable. A “3” on the AP Exam in Abilene is the same as a “3” on the AP Exam in any other part of the United States. In high school expanded Pre-AP and AP course offerings are available. Abilene ISD is also proud to offer AP Capstone Seminar and Research courses to high school scholars at both comprehensive high school campuses. Students meeting eligibility requirements earn the AP Capstone Diploma or AP Seminar and Research Certificate upon graduation.
Studies have shown that students have a better chance of graduating from college when they complete AP coursework, and an even greater chance of graduating on time when they pass AP Exams for their courses. Abilene ISD’s College Prep Initiative goals therefore include –
- Increasing the number of high school students passing the AP Exams in all AP subjects offered by at least 15% each year, and
- Exposing more students to these classes.
Teachers attend week-long and 2-day College Board summer institutes, periodic vertical team meetings, and additional training held by expert consultants throughout the year. Principals and counselors are also expected to attend a 1-day College Board training during the school year. In addition, teachers are required to have regular tutoring outside of school, and students attend three Saturday sessions per subject throughout the year to hear AP experts in preparing for the AP Exams.
The success of the Abilene ISD College Prep Initiative is evaluated on the bases of course enrollment, assessment participation and performance, and the number of students achieving National Merit recognition.