Manatee and Lee counties were the only two school districts in the state named to the College Board's AP District Honor Roll.

BRADENTON — The Manatee County School District was one of only two districts in Florida named to the College Board’s Ninth Annual AP District Honor Roll — a distinction given to school districts that increased the number of students taking Advanced Placement courses while at the same time maintaining or improving scores.

Schools across the country have struggled with getting more students into advanced courses without seeing scores go down. Manatee Superintendent Cynthia Saunders credited the efforts of Shirley Hurley, the Advanced Studies Coordinator for the district.

“Being placed on this honor roll is a very special accomplishment because it means we are expanding access to AP courses, and at the same time our students are improving their performance in those courses,” Saunders said.

In Manatee, the number of students taking AP courses increased from 2,012 in 2016 to 2,306 last school year, Hurley said. At the same time, the percentage of students earning a 3 or better on the final course exam went from 51 to 56 percent in 2018.

Lee County School District was the only other Florida district to land on the list of 373 schools across the United States and Canada. This is Manatee’s second time making the AP Honor Roll; the district last appeared on the list in 2013. Sarasota has never made the list.

Trevor Packer, senior vice president of AP and Instruction at the College Board, praised the results districts like Manatee had achieved.

“I’m inspired by the teachers and administrators in this district who have worked to clear a path for more students of all backgrounds to earn college credit during high school,” Packer stated in a press release.