New APs added to Starr’s Mill rigor

Dr.+Bonnie+Stanford+teaches+her+7th+period+Creative+Writing+class.+Next+year%2C+she+will+be+teaching+the+new+AP+Seminar+course.+There+is+no+set+textbook+for+this+class%2C+and+it+will+be+mostly+based+on+student+interest.+

Bre Kozusko

Dr. Bonnie Stanford teaches her 7th period Creative Writing class. Next year, she will be teaching the new AP Seminar course. There is no set textbook for this class, and it will be mostly based on student interest.

Abi Carter, Staff Writer

Starting next school year, Starr’s Mill will increase its number of AP courses from 22 to 24. AP Chemistry will be brought back and a new course, AP Seminar, will be offered. 

Starr’s Mill is the last school in the county to be adding AP Seminar, but the feedback has been nothing but positive from neighboring schools. Assistant principal Krystin Hall has high hopes for the new course.

“The whole AP class is geared around a topic or project that [students] are interested in, but it is heavy research, a lot of writing, and a lot of reading,” Hall said.

In AP Seminar, there are no learning or content guidelines or even a textbook. Everything students learn depends on what the students want to learn and what discussions take place. Dr. Bonnie Stanford, instructor of AP Seminar, has some discretion on the topics chosen by students and looks forward to the future discussion in the class. Due to the college level class, research papers will not be terribly lengthy, but on a higher level of language and depth.

“Colleges would like to see that you have taken this class because they know you will be prepared for what they are required to do,” Stanford said. 

Two years from now, Starr’s Mill will be offering the sequel to this course, AP Research. The classes are similar, but AP Research calls for students to have more of an oral defense for their topic of choice. Students will be asked random questions about their material, and the hope is they will have much to say due to their legitimate interest in the topic.

AP courses at Starr’s Mill offer a competitive advantage for when seniors start applying for colleges. Students who take these classes are set apart from the others because of their higher GPA and added college credit.

The AP classes offered cater to the variety of students and allow everyone to become invested in a class. Variety, however, does come with a price. Once students accept an AP class, they have to continue it through the next year. So the pressure of determining these classes can cause stress upon the student body.

Principal Allen Leonard is aware of the stress factor and difficulty of AP courses. He says it is normal for APs to be harder than high school classes, and even some college classes. College courses do not meet every day, but high school APs do.

Leonard stresses the importance of students prioritizing their time effectively and choosing classes they are genuinely interested in. AP classes are filled with students who express similar interests, but the one kid who does not is bound to struggle. The same goes for if students do not have time for the rigor requirement for the class.

“The time that we have is all one pie,” Leonard said. “How you split that pie up varies by kid or by student. Our students need to figure out how they are going to split their pie up.”

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