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Sunnyslope Scores Soar
May 15, 2023
By Allison Wilkens
With the end of the year rapidly approaching, the school halls are engulfed by AP students frantically cramming for the ultimate test of the year- AP exams; however, Sunnyslope truly has students reaching the top of S mountain with high pass rates with some of the best AP teachers to prepare students for the coveted 5.
Sunnyslope is home to one of the best AP programs in Arizona, achieved both through the extensive amount of classes offered and by the beloved AP teachers that make Sunnyslope’s program so successful
Sunnyslope Assistant Principal Demetria Andrews said, “Sunnyslope offers more AP classes than any other school in the District.”
She also reported that for the 2021-22 school year, Sunnyslope administered 850 AP exams, the largest number of exams administered in the Glendale Union High School District.
AP U.S. History Teacher Joshua Woznicki, who has taught the class at three different schools, noticed the difference between Sunnyslope and other schools in regard to AP.
Woznicki said “Sunnyslope was really a new different with AP compared to the previous schools I taught at, it was either a really small class with a high pass rate or a larger class with lower pass rates, Sunnyslope kind of changed that and I have a relatively large class with high pass rates”
Woznicki also said that, “Last year was the best pass rate I’ve ever had, we had around 53 people in the class and there were more fours and fives in that class than I’ve seen before.”
AP Language Teacher Sarah Levine touched on the importance of AP and how it helps students prepare for their future.
Levine said, “AP classes are important, they are higher level and have more rigor than just the state standards, at any school you could do an honors or regular class but AP also comes with the benefit of having college-level coursework that is going to now make you a better college student.”
Woznicki observed the benefits that AP holds for students personally.
Woznicki said “You really see students overcome a lot, they develop a wide range of life skills and overcome their fear of the class itself and succeed, It’s really teaching kids to balance out what’s important in life and learn skills that they are going to use in the future, which is so important”
Woznicki added, “One really great thing about AP is the common goal of the AP exam, it really unites the students together and the students to the teachers”
The ability to earn college credit through a high school class also has its benefits.
Levine said, “With the potential to earn a college credit is also lowering your cost of college in a way, we have kids that roll in as [college] freshman with around an entire year in credits under their belt and got all their prerequisites done through high scoring on exams.”
However, even without a high exam score, AP still holds extensive benefits for students going to college.
Levine added, “Even if you don’t score high on your exams, all the data shows that kids who took AP during high school are more likely to graduate from college, they’re more likely to graduate because they’re more ready.”
But what is more important is the teachers who help foster students’ success.
Levine’s AP class holds one of the highest pass rates with a 73% pass rate (3 or above) compared to the 57% pass rate in the state of Arizona and 55% nationally (2021).
Levine has worked for the College Board in the past — grading the actual exams students received college credit for.
In regards to how she ensures this success, Levine said “I think the most important thing is just honest feedback, from the perspective of having been an AP scorer, I can look at a paper and tell you how it’s going to score, and using that ability to let my students know at any time where they are at and how they would score they can do something about it; telling them the truth about their work is the number one thing I care about.”
Woznicki’s class also achieved a 73% pass rate compared to the 49% pass rate in Arizona and nationally from last year, putting Sunnyslope’s AP U.S. History class significantly above most other AP U.S. History classes in the state.
However, Woznicki has a much different method than Levine to achieve this.
Woznicki said his method is “definitely to really push the kids, it’s a rigorous curriculum, and pushing them teaches them to not give up early and to get up and keep going.”
Whether it’s honesty or pushing students to their full potential; Levine and Woznicki, along with the many other AP teachers on campus hold a wide variety of strategies that help create this important opportunity, always keeping students in mind.
So whether or not that coveted 5 is achieved, it is without a doubt that every student taking an AP class during this stressful time will take benefits from the opportunity that the district, teachers, and even the other students within the program have collectively made possible.