ASK DPS: Be prepared for this week's graduations

Jun. 09, 2014 @ 09:37 AM

For seniors graduating from Durham Public Schools and their families, this week’s commencement ceremonies will be truly special. In this month’s Q&A column, we have some information about how to navigate the ceremonies — there are important security-related changes this year. We also have helpful tips for the high school students who will still be with us next year and are planning to take Advanced Placement courses.

As always, you can send your questions to “Ask DPS” by emailing We’d like to hear from you.
Q: What do I need to know about attending this week’s graduation ceremonies?
A: This year, for the first time, DPS is required to distribute tickets to our graduation ceremonies, most of which are held at Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium and NCCU’s McLendon-McDougald Gymnasium. Both university campuses have heightened security and asked us to ensure that their facilities are not overcrowded. Each student was to receive up to 10 tickets. Families with any last-minute ticket concerns should contact their school’s office directly as soon as possible before the ceremony.
Your school has a designated area for parking; please use it! Multiple schools will hold commencement ceremonies throughout the day and we will need to make sure both that traffic flows smoothly and that we don’t take other university spaces. Security staff will be performing bag checks on your way in, just as at any sporting event. Please leave the noisemakers, cans of silly string and big, obstructive signs at home or in the car—they won’t be allowed in.
Commencement ceremonies are a meaningful rite of passage for every student that has persevered to reach that moment. We hope every graduate and their families have a special time, and congratulations!
Q: My child will take an Advanced Placement course next year. How will DPS support her?
A: Advanced Placement courses offer college-level instruction and assignments to DPS students who seek a greater academic challenge. At the end of the school year, students take AP Exams that could lead to earning college credits before they even set foot on campus—a potential cost-saver for parents!
Before the school year even begins, our AP teachers assign summer assignments that involve reading to help prepare for the upcoming course. Throughout the year, we continue that support through school-based review sessions. Then, in the spring, we help students prepare for the AP Exams through four district review sessions.
One great way to get a jump on AP coursework is the free Summer Scholars Camp for AP Students, which will help our students develop skills that will apply to all AP courses in a fun environment. College-level work requires college-level organizational and study skills. Our camp provides that while giving students a taste of several different AP courses that they may consider in the future.
The Summer Scholars Camp for AP Students is open to those in grades 9-12 taking an AP class next year, and runs from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday, July 21, through Thursday, July 24, at the Durham School of the Arts at 400 N. Duke St. You may register for the camp through the link on the front page of the DPS website. It’s another part of our commitment to increasing the number and diversity of DPS students not only taking advanced courses but also thriving in them. We hope to see your child there.