1,000+ TN high school students begin free online AP courses | News

NASHVILLE (WSMV) – The Tennessee Department of Education, in partnership with the Niswonger Foundation, announced the launch of the state’s new AP Access for ALL program.

With this program, nearly 1,200 high school students from 102 school districts across Tennessee will be able to begin the online course.

AP Access for ALL is a grant program created to provide students across the state with access to virtual AP courses, eliminating financial barriers and supporting student enrollment in AP coursework not currently offered at their home high school.

Since June, AP Access for ALL has successfully onboarded over 75% of school districts that include high schools to participate in the program.

Of the 102 participating districts, 21 districts are in counties classified as at-risk or distressed and 38 are rural districts. 

“One of the most important things we can do for our high school students is help them explore potential postsecondary and career pathways and ensure they have access to robust academic coursework that helps them be successful in life after graduation,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “Thanks to partners like the Niswonger Foundation, the AP Access for ALL program will have a huge impact on the state for years to come by training our teachers and advancing their skillsets, and importantly, providing students in school districts all across the state with opportunities for AP coursework that they have never been able to access before.”

While these courses are virtual, many schools are providing time and computer labs for their students to complete coursework at school during their school day.

Additionally, all AP Access for ALL courses are taught by certified and trained Tennessee teachers.

“With classes in session, AP Access for ALL is off to a fast start and is now creating new pathways for students to enter college prepared and confident, ” said Dr. Nancy Dishner, President and CEO of the Niswonger Foundation. “We are excited to partner with Commissioner Schwinn and the Department of Education on this program and look forward to seeing how access and opportunity through AP Access for ALL will continue to grow and support Tennessee students and families for years to come.”

Last summer, the Niswonger Foundation conducted online teacher training for more than 80 Tennessee educators and, in partnership with the College Board, sponsored AP Summer Institute training for nearly 150 teachers at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga.

Fifty-three Tennessee educators are currently teaching AP Access for ALL online courses this fall. 

“We have spent the last few months planning the details of this program, preparing systems and infrastructure, onboarding districts, and training teachers,” said Gina Pavlovich, Director of Niswonger Online and AP Access for ALL. “Now, as students have returned to school and AP Access for ALL courses have begun, we are seeing the impact of access as students gain real experience with college coursework and are preparing for postsecondary success.”

AP Access for ALL has made incredible gains to advanced placement access during its initial semester, and Tennessee Department of Education and Niswonger Foundation leaders are hoping to expand the program even more next spring and in coming years.

Student enrollment for the spring semester opens in November and free AP training will once again be available for Tennessee educators in Summer 2022.

For a full list of participating counties, courses offered, and more information, click here.

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