—by Laura Carthy, Golden Apple Fellow and Golden Apple Board Member—
WHAT I DID:
Last April, I was privileged to attend the Prepárate Conference in Los Angeles, CA. Prepárate is a College Board Conference, dedicated to the encouragement and support of Latino students in college preparatory classes and programs.
WHERE WE ARE NOW:
I was very much inspired by this conference and especially by a presentation given by the Lynwood Unified School District, a largely Latino district in South LA. In recent years, Lynwood has expanded its AP offerings, increased access to AP courses for all students, seen rising scores on all AP exams, and incidentally, seen noticeable improvements in graduation rates. Because Lynwood’s demographics look very much like Capital High School’s, it was apparent to me, that this would be the best model to follow.
WHERE WE’RE GOING:
Upon returning to school this August, I was able to convince my “partner in crime,” Jay Clack, to go in with me on a plan to make the same improvements at Capital High School. With our principal’s blessing, we are now co-AP Leaders for the school. We have met with administrators, and counselors to share our plans with them and will be meeting with all AP teachers this coming Wednesday. We then plan to organize an “AP Parent Night” where we can inform parents of our initiative and explain some of the additional demands of the AP program.
We have also reached out to Dr. Yesenia Fernandez, a professor at UCLA, and the muscle behind Lynwood’s model. She has accepted our invitation to travel to Santa Fe, and spend two days with us; meeting with faculty to share Lynwood’s success story, and more importantly, the implementation of their current model.
We are presently looking for funding to support Dr. Fernandez’ trip and presentation, and hope to get funding to send an AP team to this year’s Prepárate Conference in San Antonio, Texas.
Finally, we are looking for ways to offer a summer “Boot Camp” for incoming AP students, where they can brush up on basic skills such as grammar and formal writing.