Canyons District is being honored on a national level for its efforts to make Advanced Placement classes available to a greater number of students while maintaining or boosting the percentage of students earning passing scores on the college-credit-earning exams.
Canyons is one of just five districts in Utah and 425 districts across the country and in Canada to be named to the prestigious sixth-annual Advanced Placement District Honor Roll.
Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe said the recognition validates the college- and career-ready emphasis of the Canyons Board of Education’s academic plan. The Board’s plan includes the state’s first-ever differentiated diplomas and a facilities-improvement blueprint that was designed to create 21st century learning environments in all CSD schools in Cottonwood Heights, Draper, Midvale, Sandy and the town of Alta. With a $250 million bond approved by voters in 2010, in just five years Canyons has built or renovated seven schools and added new wings at Brighton and Hillcrest high schools. Crews are working on rebuilds of Butler Elementary and Midvale Middle schools and two others, a new Alta View and Indian Hills Middle, are in the architectural-design phase.
“I am proud to be a part of a district that has such a strong focus on making sure students achieve at high levels,” Briscoe said. “When Canyons District was created in 2009, the Board of Education set very high standards for student learning. I believe this recognition is a result of those standards and the dedication of our administration, teachers and staff.”
Last year, Canyons students took 3,877 AP tests in such academic areas as chemistry, calculus, history, physics, foreign language, music, art, biology and English language and composition, among others. This is an increase of 388 over 2014 figures and triple the amount taken by CSD students in the District’s inaugural academic year.
In 2015, 69 percent of CSD test-takers passed their exams with a score of three or higher. At Brighton High, which has the highest AP exam pass-rate in the District, 82 percent of students who took the AP exams earned passing scores. Most U.S. colleges and universities give college credit to students who earn a score of three or higher on the AP exams.
Inclusion on this year’s Honor Roll is based on the examination of three years of AP data, from 2013 to 2015, for the following criteria:
- Increased participation/access to AP by at least four percent in large districts, at least six percent in medium districts, and at least 11 percent in small districts;
- Increased or maintained the percentage of exams taken by African American, Hispanic/Latino, and American Indian/Alaska Native students, and;
- Improved performance levels when comparing the percentage of students in 2015 scoring a three or higher to those in 2013, unless the district has already attained a performance level at which more than 70 percent of its AP students are scoring a three or higher.
“Being named to the AP District Honor Roll is a tremendous honor for Canyons District,” said Sherril H. Taylor, President of the Canyons Board of Education. “However, while we’re thrilled to be included on the Honor Roll, and we endeavor to earn a spot every year, the greatest satisfaction is knowing that more and more Canyons District students are becoming prepared for success in college and the workplace. We are so pleased to be able to provide such a high-quality education to the families in our community.”