Evanston Township High School’s teamASAP (Access and Success in Advanced Placement) concept was featured at several national forums this fall. School districts and educators from around the country heard about the success of teamASAP and gained insight on how to bring the model to their schools.

The teamASAP concept was created by ETHS Advanced Placement (AP) students in 2011 to establish a system of academic and social/emotional support to increase success, particularly by Black and Latina/o students, in AP courses. Currently, ETHS offers 29 AP courses, which are rigorous courses designed by the College Board to help introduce high school students to college-level academics, workload and expectations. The teamASAP model seeks to prepare all students for “access and success” in AP courses by fostering an academic environment where all students are welcomed, are challenged and feel confident that they can be successful. teamASAP is supported through the efforts of current and prospective AP students, teachers, staff and administrators at ETHS.

In October, the teamASAP concept was featured at the College Board National Forum held in Las Vegas, Nevada. Dale Leibforth, AP recruitment and retention manager, and Beth Arey, college and career coordinator, the architects of teamASAP, along with Dr. Pete Bavis, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, presented “Culture Shift: Making College Readiness Programs All Inclusive.” The presentation offered suggestions on increasing awareness, access and success for all students in more challenging courses and provided guidance to other school districts who might wish to implement similar support programs. 

“The teamASAP model has the potential to support and empower students across the nation, not just the ETHS community,” said Dr. Bavis. “Other schools are interested, and we are a national leader in this area. By sharing our mission and implementation plan, we hope to position more districts with the tools to engage their students, faculty and administrators to launch awareness, access and success initiatives like those of teamASAP.”

The teamASAP model, along with other District efforts to increase access to the high school’s most challenging classes, has helped drive broader enrollment and more success in Advanced Placement courses overall. Last year, the percentage of ETHS students taking at least one AP exam was at an all-time high with 64% (888) of juniors and seniors taking at least one AP exam. A total of 2,086 AP tests were taken last school year, and 1,484 exams were scored with a 3 or higher, positioning the students who completed the exams as “qualified” to “extremely well qualified to receive college credit” for the related course.

“Our commitment to equity and excellence at ETHS is grounded in the fundamental belief that all students should be taking rigorous classes. High expectations for our students lead to higher achievement,” said ETHS District 202 Superintendent Eric Witherspoon. “The explosive growth in the number of our students taking Advanced Placement classes and the record number of high scores on the AP exams is a direct result of the strategic steps we have been taking to increase expectations for all students and support our students in taking highly challenging classes.”

One of teamASAP’s key components is the provision for social/emotional support, particularly for black and Latino students who may have previously felt isolated or unsupported in Advanced Placement class experiences. teamASAP members share their academic perspectives with one another and with prospective AP students, teachers, administrators and parents/guardians through various programs at ETHS. Throughout the year, students and their families are encouraged to attend events such as Pathways to AP Forum, AP Winter Combine, AP Spring Training, AP Academy and AP and College Application Summer Camps.

More information on ETHS’s Advanced Placement courses and teamASAP is available at visit www.eths.k.12.il.us/ap or at ethsap@eths202.org.