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FBISD receives national recognition for expanding access to college

District makes the College Board’s 2015 Gaston Caperton Opportunity Honor Roll

Fort Bend ISD is one of 130 school districts in the United States being recognized for creating opportunities for traditionally underrepresented students. The districts featured on the Honor Roll have expanded access to higher education by providing students with rigorous academic offerings and innovative college-preparation programs.

The recognition follows several years collaborative efforts within Fort Bend ISD, beginning with the creation of the District’s Vision 2020 College and Career Readiness Plan. The plan, adopted by the FBISD Board of Trustees in 2013, established strategic efforts to improve student outcomes.

“Our Board of Trustees, superintendent, District leaders, and most importantly, our campus principals, teachers, counselors and advisors have prioritized and worked really hard to ensure that all students, regardless of race or economic status, are equipped to pursue their future postsecondary goals,” said Steven Shiels, Director of College and Career Readiness. “The recognition of College Board’s 2015 Gaston Caperton Opportunity Honor Roll validates this collaborative and exciting work.”

Districts on the Honor Roll demonstrated significant and consistent growth in the number of underrepresented students and students from lower-income backgrounds participating in AP, taking the SAT, and applying to four or more colleges.

“The Gaston Caperton Opportunity Honor Roll recognizes educators and administrators who excel in delivering opportunity to students,” said David Coleman, president and CEO of the College Board. “By increasing access to stimulating courses and college opportunity, they have created a culture of success that will continue to grow and benefit students.”

There is no application process for the award. To be included on the Gaston Caperton Opportunity Honor Roll, school districts had to have increased the total number of underrepresented students, who:

• Took the SAT
• Took an AP course and exam
• Were on track for college, as demonstrated by scoring 1550+ on the SAT
• Scored a 3 or higher on an AP Exam
• Sent their SAT scores to at least four colleges

The Departments of Curriculum and Instruction, College and Career Readiness, Advanced Academics, Career and Technology Education, School Leadership and campus staff collaboratively worked to implement the Vision 2020 with a particular emphasis on increasing equity and access to the essential programs and courses to get all FBISD students prepared for college and 21st Century careers.

“In Fort Bend ISD, previous practices and procedures that prevented some students from taking Honors, Pre-AP, AP and dual credit courses in the past were removed and replaced with an open enrollment policy and philosophy,” said Shiels. “Now, any student who wants to pursue an advanced course is given the opportunity to do so.”

Fort Bend ISD programs such as Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) and Team College mobilizes principals, counselors, teachers, and College and Career Readiness advisors to actively target and pursue traditionally unrepresented students to take advanced courses based on data such as PSAT and EOC test scores, grades, and teacher feedback.

These efforts have resulted in a 37-percent increase in the number of students taking AP exams over the past two years.

This noticeable growth was led by the District’s African American and Hispanic students, who demonstrated increases of 95.9 percent and 53.7 percent respectively over the past two years.

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