Q and A

Photo of Tasha Ina Church"Vibrant Schools supports Academic Acceleration that implements and sustains educational rigor. We see it as one critical step in closing the opportunity gap for our youth of color and youth impacted by poverty. This policy has the potential to form, strengthen, and maintain high expectations in a culture of achievement through aggressive district and community support. It sends a message to parents, students and our community; when we invest in academic rigor, our students will succeed. Through academic rigor we believe, we invest and we achieve."
Tasha Ina Church
Ladies First

Are honors classes considered a part of the district’s Academic Acceleration & Rigor Policy?

No, honors classes do not fall under the policy. And not all schools offer honors classes. Individual schools determine individual course offerings based on student interest and staff qualifications. Honors courses teach the same standards as other content-specific classes. They are not a prerequisite to taking Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate or College in the High School classes.

Are advanced courses only for students who get good grades?
No, advanced courses are for any student who is academically prepared and motivated to take on rigorous coursework.
How should students make the decision to stay in advanced classes if they don’t do well on exams, but they’re performing at grade level?
Passing an AP/IB exam (earning a qualifying score) is not required in order to pass an AP class. Students are encouraged to continue with advanced classes to help ensure they graduate from high school college and career ready.
Could taking advanced courses hurt a student’s GPA?
Many colleges recognize the additional effort required of students when taking advanced courses. The decision to take advanced courses shows college admission officers a student’s willingness to take on the academic challenge of college-level coursework and expectations.
Is it still worth it for students to take AP classes if they don’t score high enough on the AP/IB exam to earn college credit?
Yes, the rigor students experience in AP/IB classes will prepare them for college-level coursework and give them a competitive advantage in the college admissions process. If a student is scheduled to graduate on time, we strongly suggest that they take an AP class.
If students qualify for one class, can they opt out and take a different class?
Yes, students may change from one advanced class to a different advanced class.
Are there costs associated with advanced classes and associated exams?
No, TPS pays all AP/IB exam fees for Tacoma Public School students only. Students have the opportunity to earn college credit if they score high enough on an AP/IB exam. The expectation is for students to fully participate in each exam for which they apply.
Are there costs associated with the Running Start and College in the High School programs?
Yes, there are college-designated tuition fees associated with these programs. There may be funding support available. Please contact your school for details.
If a student doesn’t qualify for an advanced program, can they still opt in?
Yes, students who don’t meet the automatic qualifying criteria (state assessment scores) still have the opportunity to choose advanced programs. There are no prerequisites, per School Board policy. Please contact your school's principal for assistance.
What if my student is enrolled in an advanced program and needs support to be successful?
You have several options:
  • Talk to your child's teacher. Ask the teacher to identify what standards your student is struggling with and idenfity any missing assignments.
  • Ask when the teacher is available to work with your student before or after school.
  • Contact your school's principal for a list of tutoring opportunities available for students.
  • Contact the district's Secondary Director's Office for additional support.

Still have questions? Contact the Secondary Education Office, 253-571-1191