As part of a push to expand advanced placement participation, the school will be offering new courses in the fall, and it is anticipated that there will be additional courses in 2019 and beyond.
The most significant addition will be the AP Capstone program, which will be offered for the first time in fall 2018.
Additionally the school is looking to offer more AP classes, including AP Art History and AP World History. The school now offers Honors World History to 10th graders. Other lower division courses may be reclassified as “Pre AP.”
AP Seminar will be offered as one of the new classes, along with AP Research in 2019. According to the College Board, which designed the courses and owns the AP test programs, the AP Seminar class will help students explore real-world and academic topics, allowing them to dive deeper into topics, analyzing and investigating the information.
Junior Emma Phoenix currently takes three AP classes, including AP Biology, AP Economics, and AP Language. When the AP seminar class is offered next year, Phoenix would be very interested in taking it.
“I really enjoy learning in small groups and discussing the books I read for school,” said Phoenix. “I think it’d be interesting if Rio implemented that class next year or the years following it.”
The students who go on to take the AP Research class will be required to write a 4,000-5,000 word academic paper with mentoring from professionals in that area, and will have to present an oral defense. This will help students learn to synthesize and interpret information using evidence and claims, according to the College Board.
When asked if he would take an AP Research class senior year, junior John Keeney said he would.
“In college, you have to write research papers and while we have done the JRP, we have very little experience writing the proper college level research papers,” said Keeney. “Most teachers just tell students to use a website like easybib for citations and many students get confused and don’t really understand proper citation.” Keeney believes that a research class could help students prepare students for college. “If Rio offered an AP Research class, students would be more prepared to write more in depth college papers and achieve better college grades.”
In addition to the Capstone classes, the school plans to change Honors World History to AP World History, allowing for more preparation for the AP test if the student is planning on taking it.
William Taylor has been teaching Honors World History for 20 years and isn’t opposed to teaching AP World History, but isn’t entirely in favor of teaching the class.
“I don’t think it is the best class to introduce high school students,” said Taylor. “Most students don’t like history, so I like to teach my classes through an interesting dynamic where as if I taught AP World History, it would be more factual and less of a conceptual approach.”
Taylor currently teaches Honors World History to sophomores and United States History to juniors. “I teach history to show students the interesting side instead of the factual side.”
Along with AP World History, Rio might introduce an AP art history class to students.
“This class focuses on the history of art,” said Principle Brian Ginter. This course helps teach students the whole background of art, as well as its uses, meanings, production, and societal responses throughout its history. The appreciation of art is derived from its cultures and traditions, all the way back from prehistory to the present.
Seniors who are getting ready to graduate weren’t offered these AP Capstone courses when they were signing up for their senior classes.
Some of these new AP courses have been established to guide a student to their future path, creating more opportunities to figure out what they want to do once they graduate high school and continue their education at a higher level.