Jordan High School Advanced Placement Coordinator Sondra McNair has published an article titled “Advanced Placement for all” on the national Smart Brief website. The website serves nearly six million senior executives and industry professionals nationwide.
McNair is a National Board Certified Teacher who has taught English for 20 years. In her recent article, McNair describes efforts by Jordan and the Long Beach Unified School District to provide students greater access to AP college prep courses and exams.
With about 80 percent of Jordan students receiving subsidized meals, and many of the students among the first in their families to go to college, the AP initiative is especially important for this school. McNair works with students, colleagues and the community to support students who might not otherwise participate in AP courses.
In her article, McNair details some of the strategies and tools that she and her colleagues use. The school’s AP Café, for instance, is a dedicated student space with computers, whiteboards and flexible seating.
“No coffee is served but the café gives students a place where they study, get tutoring, complete make-up work, sign out a Chromebook or print out an assignment,” McNair said. “Or, they can decompress and play some Uno. The goal is to foster a sense of community and let students know they have a place to get help if they need it.”
McNair’s article also describes the digital learning resources – Khan Academy, Google Classroom and more – that augment classroom instruction and help students to prepare for AP exams. She discusses ways in which the school makes Wi-Fi and computer hardware more accessible to students.
As with the other LBUSD high schools, Jordan offers affordable AP exams. The exams typically cost $94 each, but students pay just $5 per exam for an unlimited number of exams. A rewards program includes yard signs for Jordan students who pass AP tests.
The AP effort at Jordan is getting results. From 2013 to 2017, the percentage of students in grades 11 and 12 who enrolled in one or more AP course increased from 34 percent to 46 percent.
“We’re proud of our progress,” McNair said.
Read the full article.