This year, Alhambra High School was recognized by The Education Trust in collaboration with College Board as a school that is doing an exceptional job at providing access to AP for low-income students and students of color. The Educational Trust is a national nonprofit organization from Washington D.C that promotes high academic achievement for all students at all levels, with a special focus on students of color and low-income students. The Trust is currently engaged in a project with the College Board aimed at better understanding the practices of high schools which are unusually successful in enrolling students from historically underserved groups in their AP programs. Based on College Board data, Alhambra High School was identified as one of ten schools in the nation and the only one in the state of California to be selected for this honor.
The organization sent two representatives to visit the AHS campus in order to examine the strategies that lead to their rare academic success in the hopes of spreading those ideas to other educators and policy makers around the country. They requested to take part in a series of events, including meetings with the principal Duane Russell, the AP of Instruction, AP students, AP teachers, and two classroom observations. Mr. Valinha’s and Mrs. Diaz-Ferguson’s classes were the ones observed. The representatives had a lunchtime meeting with student followed by a teachers’ meeting after school. Students shared their experience of participating in AP classes. During the teachers’ meeting, the teachers were asked to share their experiences as AP instructors and which strategies are used within instruction, as well as supporting and recruiting AP students.
When this meeting concluded, the Education Trust representatives shared their reflections of Alhambra High School. What they found was that there is a balance in access, support for the students, high expectations no matter who you are, great disaggregation of data and a structured system of recruitment and retention. This visit is reflective of all the instruction taking place at Alhambra High School and
The school takes pride in the fact it is identified as an institution that meets the needs of all students. The Education Trusts’ final report is due to the College Board in April.