Fallbrook Union High School was designated a 2023 Advanced Placement Honor Roll School in November. FUHSD Superintendent Ilsa Garza-Gonzalez said, “This is quite an honor as only 30% of eligible schools in the United States earn the recognition. Furthermore, we also received the AP Access Award for demonstrating a clear and effective commitment to equitable access to advanced coursework.”
Students can earn college credit by passing exams for Advanced Placement classes they take in high school. So, the more AP classes and tests they pass, the bigger head start they can get on their college career, saving time and money. Most high schools give grades in AP classes weighted value in grade point averages, so students can also produce higher GPAs which helps in applying for college.
The College Board, which is an organization that connects students to college success and opportunity, uses the AP® School Honor Roll to recognize schools whose AP programs are delivering results for students while broadening access to higher education.
According to the College Board, “research shows students who take AP courses and exams are more likely to attend college and graduate on time. The students who enter four-year colleges with credit from AP accelerate their path to graduation and build confidence for college success. And even for those who don’t earn college credit, AP coursework provides early exposure to college-level work and contributes to a college-going school culture.”
The College Board announced that 4,570 schools, representing 30% of eligible high schools, are being recognized on the 2023 AP School Honor Roll. Of these schools, 1,770 also received the AP Access Award, demonstrating a clear and effective commitment to equitable access to advanced coursework.
The announcement also said that “the recipients represent a broad range of high schools from across the United States (including U.S. territories) and Canada. They include private, public, and charter schools; large and small student bodies; rural and urban populations; and specialized high schools, along with generalized programs.”
The AP School Honor Roll offers four levels of distinction: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum.
Principal Lauren Jones explained that FUHS scored at the Bronze level in College Culture, which measures the percentage of students taking at least one AP course prior to graduation; “there we are 1% away from a Silver award, so we are hoping that at least 50% of our students in the Class of 2024 will have had the opportunity to experience at least 1 AP course before graduating in June.”
In College Credit, FUHS earned a Gold. This category measures the percentage of students in the graduating class earning college credit for at least one AP exam score of 3 or higher.
The final area measured for AP School Honor Roll is College Optimization, which measures the percentage of students who have optimized their college readiness by taking a total of five APs across their high school years, with at least one taken prior to 11th grade.
Jones said, “The College Culture measurements carry the most weight, so while we earned two Gold awards, our overall recognition is a Bronze, by 1%.” She also explained that the AP Access Award "recognizes Fallbrook Union High School as providing all students the chance to participate in AP, including students of underrepresented populations."
The AP Access Award is given if the percentage of AP Exam takers who are underrepresented minority and/or low-income students mirror the school’s overall student demographics.
According to Jones, students currently have the opportunity to take 19 different AP courses/exams at FUHS, in addition to two Pre-AP courses in the areas of Biology and Chemistry.
She said, “For the 2023-24 assessment year, we have 534 students registered in AP and Pre-AP coursework, and a total of 726 exams being taken in May 2024. (Some of the 534 students registered will be enrolled in and sitting for more than one exam in 2024, which is why the number of exams exceeds the number of enrolled students.)”
Jones continued, “I would also love to highlight that while we have received recognition for our AP program this year, we also offer an IB (International Baccalaureate) program, which actually overlaps with much of the coursework students are completing in AP courses. As a result, students not only have the opportunity to earn college credit for their AP Coursework, but additionally for their IB Coursework. There, they can additionally opt to pursue an IB Career Pathway Certificate or IB Diploma.”
Jones concluded, “One of our goals as a school and as a district is to prepare all students for college and career, so we are incredibly proud of our students for taking advantage of the opportunities provided for accessing challenging coursework throughout their high school experience.”