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STEM AP® Access Expansion Opportunity

We are excited to partner with MA DESE to help provide all Massachusetts high schools with eight AP®  STEM courses free of charge! 

Click the link below to schedule time to meet with Jennifer Gwakin, Innovative Pathways Lead at DESE, to learn how to implement this program in your school at no cost.

Program Overview and Commitment to Equity
VHS Learning and School Responsibilities
Course List
Student Enrollment Process
Frequently Asked Questions

In September 2020 DESE was awarded a five-year grant totaling $9,127,691 from the U.S. Education Department (ED), through the Expanding Access to Well-Rounded Courses Demonstration Grants Program. With this funding, and via a partnership with VHS Learning, we are establishing the STEM Advanced Placement®  Access Expansion Opportunity (SAPAO). SAPAO is a statewide initiative to increase the capacity of schools to offer advanced coursework that will equip students with the skills and competencies they need to pursue postsecondary education and, ultimately, go on to STEM professions vital to the Massachusetts economy.

At the heart of this project is a commitment to generate greater equity in STEM AP®  course-taking, which DESE prioritized by narrowing participation to schools with above average rates of Black, Latino, and/or Economically Disadvantaged student enrollment. Through the grant, DESE also intends to serve schools in which low numbers of students engage in STEM AP®  courses despite demonstrating the skills to participate in this advanced coursework. The highest priority schools are those DESE envisions using the statewide virtual platform to drive their long-term strategy to increase capacity to offer STEM AP®  courses.

VHS Learning Responsibilities:

  • Provide instruction and materials including teachers
  • Provide on site coordinator training and support
  • Support schools and students
  • Report on student progress


  • Assign an on site coordinator to recruit, enroll and monitor student progress
  • Assign an AP®  coordinator
  • Assign AP®  proctors
  • Award credit on local transcripts

Course List

Give your students free access to eight AP®  STEM high school courses! Click each course link below to view the course description, prerequisites, and technical requirements.

Student Enrollment Process

For schools that know they want to participate in STEM AP®  ACCESS Opportunity (SAPAO) this fall and are ready to enroll students in courses, please email Jennifer Gwatkin to confirm your interest. Here are the steps that will follow:

  1. Schools confirm participation in SAPAO by emailing Jennifer;
  2. DESE reviews request and confirms number of students who can enroll in SAPAO from the school;
  3. DESE communicates school name, contact names, and allowed enrollment allocation to VHS Learning;
  4. VHS Learning provides school with link to register for Site Coordinator training;
  5. School selects Site Coordinator who will be responsible for SAPAO cohort;
  6. VHS trains Site Coordinator in how to enroll students in STEM AP®  courses;
  7. School begins outreach to families and enrolls students in STEM AP®  courses

MA DESE and VHS Learning STEM AP®  Access Expansion Opportunity - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Other question not answered there?
Please contact Jennifer Gwatkin for more information.