The Denison Independent School District has been named to the ninth annual AP District Honor Roll by the AP College Board. Denison ISD is the only district in Grayson County to receive the honor and joins 29 other Texas schools and 373 total schools in the U.S. and Canada to receive the honor.

In order to be eligible for the list the district had to meet strict criteria. First, from the years 2016 to 2018, districts had to increase the number of students taking AP courses. Additionally districts had to also increase, or maintain, the percentage of those students completing the exam with a score of three or higher.

This is the first time Denison ISD has made the list and Superintendent Henry Scott called it a tremendous honor for the entire community.

“For the last several years, we continued to encouraged students to challenge themselves,” Scott said. “The AP program is the premier program for honor students.”

He also said the recognition speaks to the willingness of Denison ISD students to work hard to achieve those goals.

“We’re so pleased with our students as well as the teachers who got those kids at that high level,” Scott said. “We’re appreciative of all the hard work that has gone into achieving that honor.”

Denison ISD Director of Instruction Shonda Cannon said the district learned of the recognition in December. She said the district had been seeking out and recruiting students into the advanced placement program by adding a course at the ninth grade level.

“This shows Denison as a district is really good at identifying students who need to be taking the challenging courses,” Cannon said. “Our teachers, counselors and administrators go above and beyond to work with these students.”

She also attributed much of the success to adding the AP Human Geography course to freshmen giving them more time to become acquainted with the program. She said there have been at least 90 students each year pass their AP tests.

Senior Vice President of AP and Instruction for the College Board Trevor Packer had strong praise for all the districts honored, and their teachers and administrators who did their part in motivating the students.

“Success in Advanced Placement is a combination of student’s own motivation and the opportunities educators provider them,” Packer said in a press release announcing the AP Honor Roll. “I’m inspired by the teachers and administrators in this district who have worked to clear a path for more students of all backgrounds to earn college credit during high school.”

He also said helping more students learn at a higher level while also increasing AP scores is an objective of the entire AP community from the district level all the way to college professors.

In the press release, College Board officials said national data from 2018 show that among American Indian/Alaska Native, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, and Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander students with a high degree of readiness for advanced placement classes, only around 50 percent are participating. Officials said the first step in getting more of its students to participate is to give them access, something Scott agreed with.

Inclusion on the AP Honor Roll list shows Denison ISD is committed to expanding the availability of AP courses among students of all backgrounds.