AP: Sees No Color

Improve accessibility for African Americans to AP classes!

Photo of Deborah Tadesse
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  • Technology

Date You Started Your Project Started


Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Idea (hoping to get started in the future)

1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

African Americans are underrepresented in Advanced Placement courses, due to institutionalized racism. This in turn results in stereotypes against the prosperity of African Americans in rigorous academic settings. It is completely necessary to eradicate this, as it's unfair and poses a situation in which the same opportunities aren't given to everyone.

2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

It's difficult to completely get rid of the racial prejudice, as it follows historical precedents. However, instead of getting other people to change their minds about how they view African Americans academically, why not change how African Americans view themselves in settings of academic rigor---as successful students. With this scope in mind, it's imparative to set up a website in which there are two options: be a student, or be a tutor. Experienced minority AP students (and those of the majority as well) will sign up to be tutors of different AP Classes (ranging from AP Art Studio-Statistics). For the tutors, there are options on how to teach a lesson. It can be through video recordings, worksheets, or even live videos, in which live questions can be asked by a student--just like a real life classroom (just not accredited). The other option is signing up as a student, by which you are taught the AP curriculum by a fellow youth! Tutors can be from 9th grade, up to their sophomore year in college, but have to submit proof of their completion of the AP course they are planning to teach. This way, underrepresented students know that there are youth that're rooting for them.

3. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?

I signed up for my first AP class in my sophomore year. It was AP World History. I walked in my first day, and sat in the first seat I saw. As more and more people filled up the seat, I began to recognize something. I was one of two African/African American's in the entire class of thirty-ish people. It made me feel like I was standing out. Trust me, I'll always love to be the one who is unique, but in this scenario, I didn't want to feel like I was standing out. I wanted for an administrator to walk into my class and not notice me and the other person first. I wanted to be recognized by my academic acheivements, instead of the amount of melanin in my skin. My skin color define my intelligence. Yet, in schools nationally, skin color inhibits how others perceive our intelligence. And it's not fair. In hopes of ridding myself and others of this feeling, I'm changing the system.

5. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

Hypothetically, if a underrepresented student wants to learn more about a specific AP course, or is enrolled in an AP course, they are to sign up for this site. When they sign in, they'll be redirected to a page in which they pick the AP course they want to learn more about. Then, a roster pops up with the youth willing to tutor them in the subject that they chose. This way, the underrepresented student is able to learn a years worth of AP study and feel appreciated by their peer. Feel valued and intelligent--not based on the color of their skin, but soley based on their wit.

6. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

Most tutoring programs involve the setup: teachers teaching the students. This idea however, involves a different approach. This untraditional approach highlights the importance of youth leadership in academics. By the youth teaching the youth, it helps set up a different perspective that you wouldn't get in a traditional lens. It's like friend helping a friend, except even better. Because while you're helping out a friend, you also get to help people who were underrepresented in AP classes, thrive!

7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

The "knowing I made a difference" part, comes with the feedback of the students. If they like this method and the network gets larger, it'll be justification that a difference was being made!

8. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

Outreach! I need to get people to volunteer to be tutors and then the word needs to spread that a website will come out. This way, we'll have the tutors in line and we'll gain the attention of the minority students that seek help or representation in Advanced Placement courses.

9. Which of the following types of expertise would be most useful for you?

  • Project Plan & Strategy

10. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Family support

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Social media


Join the conversation:

Photo of Matthew Tikhonovsky

Awesome idea--definitely something that is needed.

Photo of Tia Johnston Brown

I LOVE this idea. You will make this happen I have no doubt.