DENISON, Tex. (KXII) - Denison ISD got a special academic honor for the first time this year.
"It's the first time," said Director of Instruction Shonda Cannon. "We were thrilled to receive the news."
Denison ISD has their name alongside 373 school districts across the US and Canada on College Board's AP district 2018 honor roll.
"Basically more underrepresented minority or low socioeconomic students are taking AP courses and scoring 3 or higher scores," said Denison High School's lead counselor Carrie Boettger.
AP classes mean students can earn college credit while still in high school.
"We have in the past three years increased access the number taking those rigorous exams, and at the same time maintained the number performing at the qualifying level," Cannon said.
Boettger said they've added a new program to help minority students take on more challenging classes.
They also offer to pay for the AP tests which cost $94. Last year, they spent about $108,000 on the tests and incentives for teachers and students.
They also recently added two new AP courses, Human Geography and Environmental Science.
Some students like the classes so much, they're taking them in place of traditional electives.
"We were surprised at the number that wanted to take them," Boettger said.
Denison is one of 30 districts in Texas to get on the list.
Not a single district in Oklahoma made it this year.
The 2018 honor roll is based off three years of data and marked improvement, which Cannon says she can't wait to see continue.
"I'm so proud of them for challenging themselves, and ultimately for our teachers who worked with them to bring about success," Cannon said.