What you can do: Take the lead at your school. Draw up an action plan to ensure that 100% of students of color with AP potential are enrolled in AP classes or are on track to do so.
There's no one right way to do this. However, counselors like you are doing this important work and have shared best practices that have been proven effective in schools like yours.
Key things to remember:
- Repetition is necessary. For many students, taking AP courses is a big and scary step, so you'll probably have to bring it up more than once.
- College and success should be part of the message. In focus groups and polls, students report they’re motivated to take AP classes because they feel the courses give them a "leg up in college" and will make them more successful in the future.
To get your creative juices flowing, here are a few ideas your colleagues around the country have found to be effective:
- Use the College Board AP Potential™ tool to help identify African American, Latino, and Native American students in your school who have the potential to succeed in AP classes and who otherwise may be overlooked. If you’d like more information on how to use AP Potential, visit our free demos and webinars.
- With your school's administrative team, set aggressive but attainable goals for increasing the proportion of students of color with AP potential who are enrolled in AP classes.
- Use the AP Potential tool to generate letters to parents. Make follow-up calls to those parents. For more resources on talking to parents about AP, visit Outreach Resources.
- Meet individually or in groups with every student of color with AP potential to encourage them to take the AP class for which they have shown they’re likely to succeed. Students tell us that "being the only one" is a barrier to their participation and that adult personal contact can make all the difference.
- Consider holding these meetings over breakfast or lunch, in evenings, or on Saturdays. Invite parents.
- For more resources on talking to students about AP, visit Outreach Resources.
- Meet with AP teachers, and mention the students of color who have shown potential in their discipline. Ask the teachers to meet with those students to encourage them to take AP classes.
- Work to establish a buddy system. For each discipline, arrange meetings between current or former AP students of color and students of color who have shown AP potential.
- Monitor which students enroll in AP classes or prerequisites.
- Use your master schedule to keep track of students who have enrolled.
- If your school uses a data wall or notebook, keep track of students who have enrolled there.
- Follow up with students who haven’t enrolled.
- Use all communication tools at your disposal: bulletin boards, school newsletters, websites, morning announcements, Twitter, and the school Facebook account. But remember—none of these things are as effective as in-person, face-to-face contact with students.