Welcome to the AAPLE Academy Application. Thank you for your interest in the Accelerated Academic Program for Leadership and Enrichment (AAPLE). Our motto Lead, Serve, Excel succinctly describes the Academy focus. It is important that applicants have a strong interest in organizational leadership, civic leadership, and leadership in the classroom. The AAPLE Academy seeks students from varying social, economic, and cultural backgrounds. Our aim is to admit a diverse group of highly motivated and driven student leaders interested in leadership theory and practice and driven a deep impact on their community.

The AAPLE Academy’s academic pathway is very challenging. It is very important that you consider this and the time commitment involved before applying. We cannot stress enough the importance of students and parents reviewing the program requirements on our Academy website and having meaningful discussions regarding the time commitment, focus on leadership and service, and academic balance required by Academy participants.

Due to the popularity of the Academy, there will be more applicants than spaces available. Please know in advance that we are expecting a high number of applicants representing all District junior high schools and many of the surrounding private schools. Please understand prior to applying that in most cases, those who do not get admitted to the academy will submit good comprehensive applications, however, when compared against all applications, some applicants will not be admitted. The admissions panel will evaluate each student’s application in a holistic manner with the intent of finding the best match for the AAPLE Academy. We strongly recommend that all applicants become familiar with the many other amazing academies, activities, and opportunities available at SMHS.


Learn More about AAPLE:

AAPLE Academy Website

Attend Information Sessions (dates here)



  • Complete all required sections of the application
  • Fulfill the Math and English readiness requirements
  • Complete the in-person essay requirement
  • 33 of approximately 80-130 students will be admitted to the AAPLE Academy class of 2026. 75% of the 33 students will be admitted based on the online application and in-person writing.  All applicants who are not admitted after this process has been completed will be placed into a lottery pool. The AAPLE Academy will admit the remaining 25% of the 33 students using a lottery.


In-person Essay Requirement:

All applicants must attend an in-person essay on one of the dates and times provided by the Academy.  The in-person essay will be administered in the AAPLE Academy building, room i5, at San Marcos High School.  Students should be prepared to write 1 essay, approximately 550 words in length, on a computer provided by the Academy.  This should not take longer than one hour to complete.  To schedule an in-person essay date and time:  CLICK HERE


Math and English Readiness Requirements:

English and Math Courses:  Students must be enrolled in Math 8 and English 8 (or higher Math and English course) in eighth grade.  If the applicant is not currently enrolled in a SBUSD junior high school, the student must be enrolled in equivalent Math and English course levels.  Due to the rigor of AAPLE Academy courses and recommended course sequence, it is strongly recommended that students possess the drive and motivation to balance Honors and Advanced Placement courses grades 9-12.

Readiness Scores: AAPLE Academy courses and the recommended academic pathway are challenging. Students applying to AAPLE must demonstrate appropriate Math and English readiness for the AAPLE Academy course sequence. Eligibility shall be demonstrated by scoring in the “standard met” or above score range on the CAASPP Math and English assessment taken in Spring 2022 or the STAR Math and ELA assessments taken in September 2022.

* If you ARE currently enrolled in a Santa Barbara Unified School District school, you WILL NOT need to submit your STAR or CAASPP scores.

* If you are NOT currently enrolled in a Santa Barbara School District school and you are currently in 8th grade, you WILL need to provide a copy of the most recent Math and English readiness test scores administered by your school.

Note:  AAPLE Academy applicants are not ranked by their Mathematics or English scores. Scores are used to determine eligibility to apply only.

Please upload your test scores using the google form here:


If you are unable to upload your test scores due to technical difficulties, please email a copy of your most recent math readiness score to

Test Scores submitted after January 8th, 2023 will not be accepted.


Intradistrict Transfers:

Very important! Students applying who do not reside within the San Marcos High School attendance area are required to submit a transfer request to the Santa Barbara Unified School District by Friday, January 20, 2023.  Failure to meet transfer deadlines will mean that your application to AAPLE Academy will be invalid.  For more information about the transfer process, CLICK HERE.


AAPLE Academy Application:

AAPLE Academy Application (English) 

AAPLE Academy Application (Spanish)



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