About AP in DMPS

Vision Statement

The Des Moines Public Schools is dedicated to providing a quality educational experience that prepares all students for college and career readiness.

Research across the United States demonstrates the importance of high level, rigorous coursework in high school to prepare students for success in post-secondary life. The expansion of the Pre-AP strategy training and Advanced Placement course offerings is one significant way in which we will meet the goal of preparing our students for academic success. The Des Moines Public Schools is committed to leading the way in the state of Iowa and demonstrating success in creating a high-quality, AP program for all.

The Des Moines Public Schools’ Advanced Placement program will align with College Board’s Equity Policy Statement:

“The College Board and the Advanced Placement Program encourage teachers, AP Coordinators, and school administrators to make equitable access a guiding principle for their AP Programs. The College Board is committed to the principle that all students deserve an opportunity to participate in rigorous and academically challenging courses and programs. All students who are willing to accept the challenge of a rigorous academic curriculum should be considered for admission to AP courses. The Board encourages the elimination of barriers that restrict access to AP courses for students from ethnic, racial and socioeconomic groups that have been traditionally under-represented in the AP Program. Schools should make every effort to ensure that their AP classes reflect the diversity of their student population.” (College Board, 2002)

Goals and Objectives

The Des Moines Public Schools created an Advanced Placement Vision Statement to clearly communicate the goals and objectives of this policy shift. The vision statement is centered on core beliefs, such as:

  • We believe all kids can learn anything if adequately supported.
  • We will prepare students sufficiently so a 4-year college education is an option.
  • We will have high expectations for all students without exception.

To realize this vision, DMPS has the following four goals as it pertains to providing AP courses:

Goal 1: Build the capacity of DMPS to provide rigorous core AP courses to provide increased access for underserved students.

  • Outcome 1.1: Increase the number of Des Moines teachers certified to teach core AP courses and provide ongoing support
  • Outcome 1.2: Annually increase the total number of core AP courses offered in the four core content areas
  • Outcome 1.3: Annually increase the number of students enrolled in core AP courses
  • Outcome 1.4: Annually increase the percent of low-income students enrolled in core AP courses

Goal 2: Increase the percent of students who register for and take the Advanced Placement exam

  • Outcome 2.1: Annually increase the percent of students taking the AP exam

Goal 3: Increase success in AP courses and exams for DMPS students

  • Outcome 3.1: Increase the rigor of all course work to ensure more students are prepared to take AP courses by the time they enter high school
  • Outcome 3.2: Annually increase the percent of students scoring a 3 or better on at least one AP exam


Research supporting the implementation of Advanced Placement programs in schools:

  • Most students take five or six years, and sometimes even longer, to earn their bachelor’s degrees at public colleges and universities. Students who take AP courses and exams are much more likely to graduate in four years. Students who took the AP English Literature course and exam in high school had a 4-year graduation rate 62% higher than students who did NOT take an AP English course and exam in high school. (“College Outcomes Comparisons by AP and non-AP High School Experiences.”  Linda Hargrove, Donn Godin, and Barbara Dodd, The College Board, 2008)
  • Students who take longer to graduate from a public college or university typically pay between $8,000 and $19,000 for each additional year. Students attending private institutions who take longer than four years to graduate might expect to incur $26,197 for each additional year it takes to earn a bachelor’s degree. (“Trends in College Pricing.” Average Estimated Undergraduate Budgets, 2008-09)
  • College Admission and Scholarships: taking AP increases eligibility for scholarships and makes candidates more attractive to colleges.

DMPS AP Site Coordinators

  • East High School: Ashlee Duimstra and Elizabeth Ahrens
  • Hoover High School:  Stephanie Nugent
  • Lincoln High School:  Greg Marshall
  • North High School:  Julie Charikov and Cheryl Modlin
  • Roosevelt High School:  Brenna Stoffa and Tascha Brown
  • Central Academy:  Jessica Gogerty