Faculty members from across the district gather to celebrate the accomplishment
Faculty members from across the district gather to celebrate the accomplishment

Leander ISD wins AP District of the Year

College Board recognizes district’s outstanding AP program

On Nov. 16, Leander ISD called together an assembly of Advanced Placement students and teachers at Vista Ridge High School. Though the attendees didn’t know it at first, LISD had been named the 2023 AP Large District of the Year.

Every year, College Board awards thousands of schools and districts with awards through the AP School Honor Roll. From this year’s list of over 12,000 schools, three districts were chosen as “District of the Year” in their respective size; small, medium and large. LISD came out on top among “large” districts with over 50,000 students.

“I was able to go [to Vista Ridge] and check out all of these AP students I knew existed in my school but previously didn’t have much interaction with,” junior Pranav Subramanian said. “But now I’ve met more people like me. Finding more kids from other schools who have the same beliefs, ideas and motives as me is cool.”

Over the last five years, the district has grown significantly in size and AP scores were expected to drop. Instead, the pass rate increased from 70% to 82%. This year, around 1600 exams will be administered on campus at Rouse alone.

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“I am most proud about the quality of education that students get,” Dean of Instruction Tim Cornett said. “Not just college credit, but the level of academic achievement they have in the classroom.” 

Taking AP classes in high school can save students thousands of dollars in tuition. At LISD, students generally pay $94 per test. Universities nationwide award students credit based on their exam scores, which are scored on a scale of one to five, with five being the highest score.

“If you take the exam at the end, and score three to five, then by law in Texas, you will get college credit,” Cornett said. “You have to go college by college to determine what type of credit you will get at each university. But it’s a great way to access college level classes, to have a little bit of a GPA boost, but also to receive college credit potentially at the end.​​”

AP classes can help students get ahead by preparing them for college level coursework.

“I had a really good teacher and she motivated us to do our best,” junior Staffina Alexander said. “I think that’s where I succeeded because she showed us what an AP class is about. It’s not just about gaining college credit, it’s about challenging yourself and making sure you are knowledgeable about whatever class you’re in.”

The skills students take away from AP classes can be more than just academic.

“If anyone is interested in AP, don’t let the work or what other students say scare you from it,” AP Human Geography teacher Carlos Martinez said. “Even though [students] might not get the score that they might want, the content, the skills, the knowledge and the camaraderie you get, you’re not going to get it anywhere else besides an AP class. What you’re exposed to is a lot more beneficial in the long run than the averages that you get in the class.”

AP teachers’ lesson plans must follow a curriculum mandated by College Board. This may necessitate extra effort from teachers while planning activities. 

“We are here for our students,” AP English language and composition teacher Christina Gatti said. “We are not here for a nine to five job, we are here for [the students]. Even if it means more hours or a little bit more stress, we enjoy it, because we know it’s good for [the students]. That’s why we’re here.”

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