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 making 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.




Math and English Readiness Requirements:

English and Math Courses:  Students must be enrolled in CCCS Math 8, Math 8 Enrichment or Math 8 Compaction in 8th grade. In addition, students must be enrolled in CCCS English 8 or English 8 Honors in 8th 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 multiple Honors and Advanced Placement courses grades 9-12.

CAASPP Scores: AAPLE Academy courses and the recommended academic pathway are very challenging. Students applying to AAPLE must demonstrate appropriate Math and English readiness for the AAPLE Academy course sequence. Note that Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, SBUSD students were not able to take the CAASPP math or ELA exams in the 7th grade. As a result, students are asked to submit their 6th grade scores instead. For minimum eligibility students must:

  • Be enrolled in CCCS Math 8, Math 8 Enrichment or Math 8 Compaction in 8th grade
  • Be enrolled in CCCS English 8 or English 8 Honors in 8th grade.
  • Score 2552 or above in the “Standard Met” score range on the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) math exam taken in 6th grade.
  • Score 2531 or above in the “Standard Met” score range on the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) English exam (ELA) taken in 6th grade.

Note: To determine your students CAASPP scores SBUSD parents can log on to their Aeries Parent Portal > see Test Scores tab.

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

* If you are currently enrolled in a Santa Barbara Unified School District school, you WILL NOT need to submit your 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 your 6th-grade or 7th grade test scores.

Test Scores postmarked after January 3, 2020 will not be accepted.

Please mail a copy of your test scores to:

AAPLE Academy at SMHS
Attn: Admission
P.O. Box 30636
Santa Barbara, CA 93130-0636


In-person Essay Requirement:

All applicants must attend a virtual in-person essay on one of the dates and times provided by the Academy.  The virtual in-person essay will be administered by AAPLE Academy staff using Zoom.  A Zoom link will be provided prior to the administration of the essay. Students should be prepared to write 1 essay, approximately 550 words in length.  This should not take longer than 1 hour to complete.  To schedule an in-person essay date and time:



Application Information:

  • The application window will close on January 3, 2021 @ 11:59PM. Late applications will not be accepted.
  • You cannot save your answers and come back to them. We suggest that you write your essay using word processing software on your desktop and then cut and paste your final draft into the appropriate text-box. Please strictly follow the formatting requirements provided below.
  • Once you have pressed “Submit”, your application is final. There will be no exceptions. You may only submit one application. You cannot edit, add, or resubmit a new application. Please, double check and proofread your application before you submit it.
  • It is important to strictly follow application instructions and complete all required sections of the application.


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 29, 2021.  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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AAPLE Celebrates 2020 | Postponed | Future Dates to Coincide with Federal, State, and Local Recommendations