Advanced Placement

Peter Medlin

The DeKalb School Board held a special meeting today on Juneteenth to ask members of the public to talk about their experiences with racism and inequality in the school system.

The need for more staff diversity was brought up by several speakers. Surveys show racial disparities between the numbers of black students and teachers exist across the country.

Spencer Tritt

DeKalb is a university town. But even growing up in the shadow of Northern Illinois University, that doesn’t mean every student sees themselves as a potential college student.

Advanced Placement classes are one way to make a student feel college-ready. They can also earn actual college credit from them.

Photo by Spencer Tritt

A few days a week, Earlville high school juniors and seniors sit down for their first class in what's called their "college classroom." It's where they can take dual enrollment courses, and get college credit if they pass.

Last year, Earlville's graduating class was only 37 students. But they left with nearly a combined 200 college credit hours.

"Because we are a textbook, low-income, small country school, we're kind of proud of all the different opportunities that we can offer the kids," said principal Jeanette Fruit.

Recent data shows more Illinois students are taking Advanced Placement tests.  

The classes and accompanying exams can help them earn college credit.  The State Board of Education is working to ensure more low-income and minority students take the tests, and spokeswoman Jackie Matthews says the effort is going well.  

"The State Board is moving some unused federal funds directly into the AP test fee program to keep the fee for low-income students at $15 per tests, to make sure these tests remain accessible to all students."  

Normally, it cost $93 for each exam.