Events Archive

High School Student Enrollment in UCR AP Readiness Program Doubles

AP Readiness
Students and educators participate in the AP Readiness program at UCR.

More and more high school students enroll in Advanced Placement courses to help prepare them for the rigor of college and strengthen their college applications. In fact, according to a recent study from The College Board and the Education Commission of the States, the number of students enrolled in Advanced Placement courses have doubled over the past 15 years.

“Advanced Placement courses represent some of the most academically rigorous courses a high school student can take and are now a formal measure of a State of California’s college and career readiness indicator,” said Gil Compton, Director of College and Career Readiness at Riverside County Office of Education. “Studies show that when a student completes one AP course during high school they have a 40% higher chance of completing a four-year degree.”

With this in mind, UC Riverside Graduate School of Education and Riverside County Office of Education launched UCR AP Readiness, a unique program designed to provide additional academic support for students preparing for end of course AP examinations. As part of the program, AP teachers can also attend seminars alongside their students and participate in professional development from some of the best AP teachers in Riverside County. Students also have the option of participating in events organized by UCR undergraduate admissions and student affairs programs.

Modeled after UCLA’s successful AP Readiness program, UCR’s program provides supplemental support and instruction for all 23 districts serviced by the Riverside County Office of Education, offering monthly Saturday courses in STEM areas – science, math, computer science—and English.

Now in its second year, the program has seen considerable growth: the first four sessions of 2017-18 averaged 1,000 students and 80 educators per event, up from the 2015 sessions, which averaged 500 students and 50 educators.

“As the reputation and impact of the program has spread across the county, more schools and students are taking advantage of this great learning opportunity,” said UCR AP Readiness program director James D. Keipp.

The program has received positive feedback from educators and students alike. Alma, a junior at West Valley High School, said that one of her favorite things about AP Readiness is that she has a chance to explore a college campus, since the courses are held at UCR. She added, “The program helps me review material from a different perspective than the classroom. I obtain a better understanding of the material, which helps me on future AP tests.”

The evidence about the success of the program isn’t just anecdotal. “Currently, the data are indicating that students who participate in the UCR AP Readiness program have a 20% higher passing rate on the end of course examination in comparison to students who do not,” added Compton. “The Riverside County Office of Education believes so strongly in the AP Readiness program that funding to increase the program is being sought. Currently, grant awards fund the program, and we are working to secure additional grant funding to continue and expand the program.”

The GSOE is currently looking for grant funding to expand the AP Readiness program to districts in San Bernardino County.

“One of the goals of the Graduate School of Education is to help increase college and career readiness in the Inland Empire. Through our collaboration with the Riverside County of Education on the AP Readiness Program, we are able to make a difference in the preparedness of our local high school students,” said Thomas M. Smith, Dean of the Graduate School of Education at UCR. “We are extremely encouraged by the success of the program and its positive impact on the community.”

Find out more about UCR AP Readiness including upcoming sessions and registration information here.


GSOE Welcomes Education Pioneer Deborah Meier and Educator Emily Gasoi on February 21

RSVP HERE by Feb 15.

The Graduate School of Education will host longtime educators and authors Deborah Meier and Emily Gasoi during an upcoming installment of the GSOE Dean’s Distinguished Speaker Series.

Please join us for a moderated discussion and book signing with Meier and Gasoi focused on their recently released book, “The Schools Belong to You and Me: Why We Can’t Afford to Abandon Our Public Schools.”

In their book, the authors describe how the last two decades of education reform have been characterized by “a disconnect” between the original purpose of education and anything remotely resembling foundational ideas about democracy. “Schools that have pioneered and that have attempted to sustain their innovative, democratic, or just demonstrably good practices—are in danger of disappearing,” the authors caution. “In 2017, our very institution of free, universal education is at risk of succumbing to the forces of free-market ideology, which have overtaken our national sensibilities.”

WHO: Dean Thomas Smith will give an introduction to a conversation with veteran educators and authors, Deborah Meier and Emily Gasoi, moderated by GSOE professor Leigh Patel

WHEN: Wednesday, Feb. 21, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

WHERE: The Barn at UCR. Complimentary parking provided with RSVP.

About the authors: 

Deborah Meier, author of the acclaimed books The Power of Their Ideas and In Schools We Trust, has spent more than five decades working in public education as a parent, school-board member, teacher, principal, writer, and advocate. Meier ranks among the most acclaimed leaders of the school reform movement in the United States. Among her numerous accomplishments, she helped found the Coalition of Essential Schools in the 1980s, under the leadership of Ted Sizer. In 1987, she received a MacArthur award for her work in public education.



Emily Gasoi has been an educator for more than two decades and was a founding teacher at Mission Hill School in Boston. In 2012 she earned a doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania. Gasoi currently lives in Washington, DC, where she adjuncts at Georgetown University and is cofounder of Artful Education, an organization focused on helping schools and arts organizations improve practices related to creative teaching and learning.

To learn more about the democratically governed school that Meier and Gasoi discuss in the book, see this series of 10 shorts entitled A Year at Mission Hill School.

Moderator/GSOE Professor Leigh Patel is an educator, writer, and sociologist. She is the author four books, including the award winning “Youth Held at the Border and Decolonizing Educational Research: From ownership to answerability.” She is a proud member of the grassroots organization Education for Liberation which sponsors the Free Minds Free People conference. Prior to working in the academy, she was a teacher, journalist, and state level policymaker.


12th Annual UC SPEDDR Conference

UC SPEDDR Student Advisory Council

On January 19 and 20, 2018, doctoral students in special education at UCR joined students and professors from eight UC campuses for the 12th annual student-run University of California Collaborative for Research on Special Education, Disabilities, and Developmental Risk (SPEDDR) conference, held at UC-Davis.  

This conference is one of several activities of the University of California Collaborative for Research on Special Education, Disabilities, and Developmental Risk (SPEDDR), founded in 2005 by UCSB professor Michael Gerber and UCR professors H. Lee Swanson and Rollanda O’Connor, which links faculty and doctoral students with shared research interests across the UC system.  

As the organization spread to eight of the UC campuses, faculty routinely brought their students along to the twice-yearly meetings and students soon formed their own organization, the Doctoral Student Advisory Committee, which now runs the conference annually on their own (with just a little help from faculty mentors).

Participating UCR students included Yasamine Bolourian, Megan Ledoux, Juan Chen, and Elizabeth Isralowitz.  

Dr. Rollanda O’Connor, center, with UCR students Juan Chan & Megan Ledoux.

In addition to attending the conference, faculty from seven of the UC campuses (Riverside, Davis, Los Angeles, Merced, Santa Barbara, San Diego, and San Francisco) discussed their current research and findings, primarily in the areas of learning disabilities and autism, with Richard Gifford from the California Department of Education.  

The SPEDDR Student Conference is supported partially through the generous endowment of the Eady/Hendrick fund to the GSOE. 

Check out UCSPEDDR’s Facebook page here.