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Cultivating AP in Small Rural Schools

Since the days of the one-room schoolhouse, small rural schools have played a crucial role in American education. Their tradition of personalized instruction and community roots continues to nurture students. This individual attention to students and greater interaction between teachers and administrators allow many small rural schools to foster an environment of student achievement.

Many small rural schools struggle with a unique set of challenges, including isolation, motivating students to pursue a rigorous academic curriculum, and limited numbers of teachers. Although small rural schools face obstacles in implementing and growing their AP programs, the College Board believes that a systematic approach to these challenges can broaden access to AP.

Promoting Academic Rigor

  • Recognize the accomplishments of AP students at local events to help raise academic expectations and standards, improve morale, attract new students to AP, and publicize the school and the program to the community at large.
  • Visit Building Your AP Program for additional ideas.

Teacher Support and Professional Development

  • Develop a school support team to help define the plans, structures, and processes necessary for continuous, sustainable instructional improvement
  • Help your teachers use AP score reporting data to help design and enhance instruction
  • Encourage your teachers to apply for an AP Rural Fellows scholarship, which covers tuition and travel expenses for teachers in rural areas to attend a weeklong AP Summer Institute training session.

Recruiting Students into AP Classes

  • Hold an "AP Night" to explain the benefits of AP to students
  • Provide non monetary incentives for taking AP courses and exams such as waiving the final course exam if the student takes the AP Exam

Overcoming funding challenges

  • Low-income students should take advantage of College Board fee reductions
  • The federal government's Advanced Placement Incentive Program enables recipients to develop or sustain programs that encourage low-income students to participate in AP courses and exams.
  • Tap in to community resources to support AP Programs
    • Seek lab materials from local healthcare providers,
    • Partner with local organizations to sponsor field trips
    • Hold fund raisers to support teacher professional development

All students need and deserve access to the best education, whether they're planning to work after high school, attend community or four-year colleges, or join the military. Small rural school participation in AP is vital for improving equity and academic excellence in all American schools.