ETHS, teamASAP program win national recognition


A group of teamASAP members gather to study and problem-solve together.

ETHS, District 202 has been named a grand prize winner in the 22nd annual Magna Awards program sponsored by the National School Boards Association’s flagship magazine, American School Board Journal (ASBJ). The ETHS teamASAP (team Access & Success in Advanced Placement) program was named a winner in the national recognition program that honors the best practices and innovative programs that advance student learning.

Every April, the ASBJ features districts and school leaders who solve challenges with outside-the-box solutions. The April 2016 issue of the magazine highlights the hard work and dedication of school district programs across the country. The Magna Awards recognize school districts and their leaders taking bold steps to improve the lives of their students and their communities. An independent panel of school board members, administrators, and other educators selected the winners from nearly 250 submissions.

“Our dedicated school board deserves this important recognition. The Magna Award is a prestigious national award recognizing our outstanding ETHS school board and the teachers and staff who are passionately committed to educational equity, to higher achievement and increased rigor for all students of all races and all backgrounds,” stated Superintendent Eric Witherspoon. “Our school board has written and adopted a vital Equity and Excellence guiding statement, supported ongoing restructuring so all students will benefit from our best learning opportunities, and has articulated clear goals and measures to assure that ETHS is accountable for successful outcomes for all students in this beautifully diverse school.”

ETHS teamASAP is designed to help improve and ensure awareness, access, opportunity and success in Advanced Placement courses for all ETHS students. Pete Bavis, ETHS Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, points to reports showing all-time highs in student achievement. The continued rise in AP scores at the high school in conjunction with increased participation and diversity have brought national attention to the ETHS AP program. Initiatives such as teamASAP in particular have demonstrated how school districts can have a positive impact on school culture when implementing programs aimed at retaining students in its most rigorous courses.

Specific data is cited by the ASBJ which shows notable growth in a short period of time. In 2014, for example, ETHS had more scores of a 3 or higher on AP exams (1,480) than the school had total exams in 2010 (1,384). Further, the percentage of black and Latino students enrolled in AP courses jumped significantly between the years 2011 to 2014. In 2011, 29 percent of black and 28 percent of Latino juniors and seniors were enrolled in AP classes. In 2014, 38 percent of black and 51 percent of Latino juniors and seniors were taking on AP coursework.