Adrian C. Wilcox High School in Santa Clara Unified School District Celebrates AP® STEM Day

Part Of New Program To Engage Underrepresented Minority Students In College-Level AP STEM Course Work

Santa Clara, CA — With the need to remain competitive in an ever-changing global marketplace more important than ever, and with millions of skilled jobs left unfilled here at home, Adrian C. Wilcox High School in the Santa Clara Unified School District celebrated AP® STEM Day today to raise awareness about the importance of rigorous education in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines. Carlos Vera, from Google’s Next Generation Data Systems, participated in today’s event, which included an information session for potential students on the benefits of AP STEM courses, a conversation about STEM careers, and a visit to new AP STEM classes.

“Wilcox High School is excited to participate in AP STEM Day and recognize Google’s generous support of our new Advanced Placement  classes in science and engineering,” said Craig Young, AP Teacher of AP Physics C: Mechanics and AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism. “We are committed to providing rigorous STEM courses to all our students, and especially to minority, female, and low-income students who have historically been underrepresented in these fields.” 

Wilcox High School is one of 335 schools across the country that is participating in the AP STEM Access program, implemented by the College Board last fall. With the support of a $5 million Google Global Impact Award to DonorsChoose.org, Wilcox is starting new AP STEM courses in Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism, Physics C: Mechanics, and Computer Science A, with the specific goal of encouraging underrepresented minority and female students who demonstrate strong academic potential to enroll in and explore these areas of study and related careers. Over the next three years, the AP STEM Access program will give an estimated 36,000 students, across all participating schools, the opportunity to study college-level STEM course work in newly created classes.

“I was delighted to meet the students at Wilcox High School and discuss how their studies in AP STEM can lead to some of the most exciting careers available today,” said Carlos Vera, Commodity Manager at Google. “Engaging students in STEM disciplines so they can succeed in today’s highly competitive global marketplace is what the AP STEM Access program is all about.”

Advanced Placement® STEM courses can both impact students’ success in college and help prepare them for some of today’s most innovative careers. Over the last 10 years, the growth in STEM jobs was three times faster than growth in other job sectors; this growth is expected to continue. However, as a nation, far too few of our college graduates are prepared to fill these jobs. 

“We applaud the educators at Wilcox High School for raising student awareness of how a rigorous STEM education can lead to college and career success,” said Trevor Packer, the College Board’s senior vice president of AP and Instruction. “The College Board is committed to preparing a diversity of students for STEM majors and careers, and increasing access to AP courses is an integral piece of that effort.”

Students who succeed in AP in high school are more likely to enroll in and graduate from college than their non-AP peers.  Research also shows that students who take AP math and science are more likely than non-AP students to earn degrees in physical science, engineering, and life science disciplines. However, far too many students still lack access to AP. Last year alone, over 300,000 students who had the potential to succeed in an AP course didn’t take one. Black, Hispanic, and Native American students with AP potential are more likely to experience this gap in key subjects such as math. Only 3 out of 10 black or Hispanic students and 2 out of 10 Native American students who had the potential to succeed in an AP math class took one. Compare this with 6 out of 10 Asian students and 4 out of 10 white students. And, in most AP STEM subjects, female students participate at lower rates than male students. 

Photos of today’s event are available upon request. 

For more information and the full list of schools participating in the AP STEM Access program, visit collegeboard.org/apstem.


About the Advanced Placement Program®

The College Board’s Advanced Placement Program® (AP®) enables willing and academically prepared students to pursue college-level studies — with the opportunity to earn college credit, advanced placement, or both — while still in high school. Through AP courses in 34 subjects, each culminating in a rigorous exam, students learn to think critically, construct solid arguments, and see many sides of an issue — skills that prepare them for college and beyond. Taking AP courses demonstrates to college admission officers that students have sought the most rigorous curriculum available to them, and research indicates that students who score a 3 or higher on an AP Exam typically experience greater academic success in college and are more likely to earn a college degree than non-AP students. Each AP teacher’s syllabus is evaluated and approved by faculty from some of the nation’s leading colleges and universities, and AP Exams are developed and scored by college faculty and experienced AP teachers. Most four-year colleges and universities in the United States grant credit, advanced placement, or both on the basis of successful AP Exam scores — more than 3,300 institutions worldwide annually receive AP scores. In the last decade, participation in the AP Program has more than doubled, and graduates succeeding on AP Exams have nearly doubled. In May 2013, 2.2 million students representing more than 18,000 schools around the world, both public and nonpublic, took approximately 4 million AP Exams.