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BOSTON -- Monday, September 18, 2023 -- Mayor Michelle Wu and Superintendent Mary Skipper today celebrated that Advanced Placement (AP) African American Studies is being offered at 10 high schools in the 2023-24 school year. Boston Public Schools (BPS) will provide the opportunity for students to read culturally affirming texts, and engage in discourse about Black history, culture, and the extraordinary contributions and accurate stories that have long been neglected and marginalized. BPS is committed to educating Boston's young people with curricula that are rigorous, culturally and linguistically sustaining and affirming, and intellectually engaging. At the start of school year 2023-24, 31 percent of BPS students across grades 9-12 identify as Black.

"I'm thrilled to announce that BPS will join the second year of the College Board's AP African American Studies pilot program," said Mayor Michelle Wu. "Learning about the invaluable ways Black communities have shaped our country is an essential opportunity for BPS students to deepen their cultural understanding and education. BPS students deserve a curriculum that reflects the diversity of Boston, and I look forward to the new ways our students will engage and enrich their learning this school year."

"The expansion of AP African American Studies to 10 high schools within the District gives more students of all backgrounds the opportunity to grow their knowledge and appreciation of people who are foundational to this country," said Boston Public Schools Superintendent Mary Skipper. "This initiative reflects our commitment to providing a rich, culturally affirming educational experience that empowers our students to explore the complexities and contributions of Black history and culture. Together, we are fostering an environment that celebrates diversity, inclusivity, and intellectual engagement in our schools. We hope in the future to use the knowledge of the inaugural group of teachers and ongoing professional learning to build successful programming across a larger community of schools."

The interdisciplinary course prioritizes a project-based assessment component to deepen student understanding and engagement, and explores the African diaspora, Black communities, and the African American experience. Through thematic connections and critical skill development, students will explore the essential topics of freedom, enslavement, resistance, movements and debates, African empires and kingdoms, civil rights, and racial uplift. In addition, BPS staff are empowered to augment the curriculum to ensure further relevance and student engagement through content that is particularly relevant to students living and learning in Boston.

"This course supports efforts to expand the narrative of possibilities in African American history rather than being reliant on a hero-driven history," said L'Merchie Frazier, visual activist, artist, historian and member of the City’s Task Force on Reparations. "The object is to build a course that will highlight the spaces that African descended people occupy from the beginnings of the Americas to contemporary times and give students the opportunity to deepen the archive by exploring historical documents while developing the skills to identify what is not there. It is my hope that when asked 'Do I see myself mirrored in this history?' for students the answer would be yes."

The 12 educators teaching the course across 10 schools attended the AP African American Studies Pilot Summer Institute (APSI) hosted at different locations nationwide, including Summer Institutes led by the College Board. As part of training, teachers participated in professional development, including at Howard University and Western Kentucky University.

TechBoston is one of the schools that is piloting AP African American Studies.

"It is incredible that we are making history, and I am excited that I have the opportunity to teach this curriculum and that BPS has the courage to make space for me to share this curriculum," said TechBoston Academy 10th-grade teacher Tanisha Milton. "It is important to understand the students we serve. We need to let the students know that this is not about highlighting the struggle of African Americans, but celebrating their great accomplishments and contributions in spite of the struggle."

"It's an honor to take this course. There is so much about African American history that we don’t get taught in public school," said 10th grader Rachel Fuentes-Palacios. "It is a point of pride for my school that we are able to participate and learn about this. We are able to go in depth to learn about African American history, and I am so glad to be a part of this."

Below are the high schools offering AP African American Studies. 

School Name

School Type

Another Course to College


Boston Green Academy

In-District Charter

Boston Latin Academy


Boston Latin School


Charlestown High School

Open Enrollment

Dearborn STEM Academy

Open Enrollment

Dr. William W. Henderson Inclusion School

Innovation School 

Jeremiah E. Burke High School

Open Enrollment

John D. O’Bryant School of Math and Science


TechBoston Academy



Schools have worked with BPS central office to identify anchor textbooks and companion readings and fill out classroom libraries to support student-led inquiry. Additional opportunities will be explored to expand learning beyond the classroom, connecting with experts in the community, and seeking avenues for learning through the greater Boston context.


The goal is to expand AP African American Studies in the BPS in future years.


BPS offers over 200 AP classes across 25 high schools in the District. 3,837 students in grades 9-12 (or 25% of students in grades 9-12) took AP courses during school year 2022-23, an increase from 3,575 students (or 23% of students in grades 9-12) throughout 2021-22. AP courses count toward college credit if students attain qualifying scores on the subject’s AP exam.