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Is Your State Providing Equal Access to Education?

ProPublica analyzed federal education data from the 2009-2010 school year to examine whether states provide high-poverty schools equal access to advanced courses and special programs that researchers say will help them later in life. This is the first nationwide picture of exactly which courses are being taken at which schools and districts across the country. More than three-quarters of all public school children are represented. Read our story and our methodology.

Find a school

Centennial High

4300 CENTENNIAL LN, ELLICOTT CITY, MD., 21042 | Grades 9-12

Districts with 3,000 or more students
Students Total Teachers Inexp. Teachers AP Courses
This School
1,485
92
10% 21
District 50.4K 3,705 12% 19
State 826K 56,262 11% 15
 
State Average
 
District Average

Percentage of relevant students who...

Get Free/Reduced Price Lunch

34%
13%

5%

Take at Least One AP Course

23%
26%

35%

AP Pass Rate

60%
74%

83%

Take Advanced Math

17%
25%

27%

Are in a Gifted/Talented Program

25%
28%

59%

Take Chemistry

20%
20%

23%

Take Physics

12%
15%

16%

Participate in sports

38%
0.0%

59%

Are

0%
0%

0% Am Indian
6%
15%

28% Asian
37%
20%

7% Black
10%
8%

4% Hispanic
45%
50%

56% White

Centennial High, part of the Howard County Public Schools district, is located in Ellicott City, Maryland. The school reports enrolling 1,485 students in grades nine through 12, and it has 92 teachers on staff.

Centennial High is below both the state and district averages for the percentage of its students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. On average, 34 percent of students in Maryland qualify for free or reduced-price lunches, whereas 5 percent of students at Centennial High are eligible. At the district level, 13 percent are eligible.

ProPublica's analysis found that all too often, states and schools provide poor students fewer educational programs like Advanced Placement, gifted and talented programs, and advanced math and science classes. Studies have linked participation in these programs with better outcomes later in life. Our analysis uses free and reduced-price lunch to estimate poverty at schools. We based our findings on the most comprehensive data set of access to advanced classes and special programs in U.S. public schools — known as the Civil Rights Data Set— released by the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights.

Centennial High offers 21 AP courses, and 35 percent of students participate in those classes.

For AP tests, the school's pass rate is above the district average, with 83 percent of students passing some or all AP tests. Compare this to the district rate of 74 percent.

A school's AP pass rate is determined by the number of students who both sat for AP exams and passed some or all of those exams.

Centennial High has an enrollment rate of 27 percent for math classes, and 23 percent of students take chemistry. The enrollment rate for physics at the school is 16 percent, and the gifted and talented program has a participation rate of 59 percent.

Vivien T Thomas Medical Arts Academy, in Baltimore, Md., is a higher-poverty school than Centennial High, with 81 percent of its students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. The school offers two AP courses, and 6 percent of students are enrolled in those courses.

These data points were reported by schools and districts to the Office for Civil Rights. For more information about the data, see our full methodology.

— Generated by Narrative Science