Advanced Placement classes in high school mean that top students are taking classes approved for transferable college credit. This of course saves on ever-rising tuition fees, but also indicates students who want to learn, who want to work hard, who want a successful future.
Thus, since the Hayward Unified School District was recently named by College Board to the U.S. and Canada A.P. Honor Roll “for Expanding Opportunity and Improving Performance for Advanced Placement Students,” one of only two East Bay districts to earn this distinction, the school district, and indeed the entire city, are very proud.
Much of this success must be attributed to new Superintendent of Schools, Stan Dobbs. A man of boundless enthusiasm for new ideas and student success, since he has taken over, seven new A.P. classes have been added, for a total of 35 spread throughout Hayward’s three high schools.
With additional classes comes additional success. 123 more students received A.P. credit than the year before, an increase of 62%. And this increase includes all ethnicities from Hayward’s multi-ethnic population.
High demands are placed on both teachers and students in an A.P. class. At Mt. Eden High School for example, Elizabeth Finlayson teaches A.P. Statistics classes. She began her professional life as a mechanical engineer, but her love of teaching brought her to Mt. Eden, where she thrives on knowing many of her students will be the first in their family to attend college.
By teaching them statistics, she’s giving them knowledge that can be adapted to any future field of study. They learn how to compile and present statistics to support a thesis, no matter what topic, and to read data critically, understanding how it can be manipulated.
At Mt. Eden, students have many A.P. choices. Besides statistics, the math department offers two calculus classes. In science, students may take A.P. Chemistry, Physics, or Biology. A.P. English Literature and English Language are also available, as well as Spanish, American History, and American Government. A.P. Psychology is planned for the future, and Mt. Eden’s Carrie King teaches the only A.P. Art program in Caliornia.
With administrative encouragement, dedicated teachers, and enough student ability and interest to fill up this variety of Advanced Placement classes, it’s easy to see how the Hayward Unified School District was named for this prestigious honor.