A Push for More AP Classes

Mr. Colon’s senior AP Literature class.

High school AP courses are offered in many subjects in high school’s around the country including history, calculus, science, and English. At the end of each AP course, students have the option to take the Advanced Placement exam which is graded on a 5-point scale. Depending on the college or university a student decides to attend, scoring at least a three on an AP exam allows a student to place out of a similar course in college.

In many ways, enrolling in Advanced Placement courses can be a no-brainer for dedicated high school students. AP classes offer more of a challenge than a general or core class and are often considered difficult, but rewarding by students who take them. These rigorous courses not only introduce students to college-level academics, but also offer students an opportunity to gain college credits before entering college.

This year, Frank Sinatra School of the Arts drastically increased its amount of Advanced Placement offerings. An Advanced Placement Environmental Science course was just added to students’ schedules this year because enough students signed up and had an interest in it.

“We can’t put kids in the class, they need to want to be in the class,” Assistant Principal of instruction, Mrs. Apostolidis said.

Mrs. Apostolidis is the Assistant Principal of instruction at Frank Sinatra School of the Arts. Her job is to review the curriculum for all the classes offered at the school and she makes sure all staff members are qualified to be teaching the students.

Aside from controlling the Advanced Placement courses at the school, Mrs. Apostolidis must also calculate the budgets with the classes that are to be added.

“What I value most about the classes is the level of rigor that is presented and the chance that it gives me to achieve college credit,” AP Calculus student, Caitlin Brozen said. Caitlin was an Honors Calculus student as a Junior, and made the decision to enroll in AP Calculus this year.

“AP Calc is much more accelerated than honors. The class requires much more than it did from me last year, for instance the amount of time that I have to spend on homework and studying for tests has exponentially increased. The caliber of problems that are now presented to me are far more challenging than what I’ve seen before. In addition to that there are also new topics that the AP course covers that honors didn’t such as u-substation, slope graphing, and initial conditions,” Caitlin said.

The first Advanced Placement class that was taught at Frank Sinatra School of the Arts was AP World History, which was taught by Mr. Skalor. As the school grew, each year brought a new course or a second class. Years passed and kids grew eager to take Advanced Placement classes. It’s found, that successfully taking various Advanced Placement classes throughout high school could save students up to a year of tuition in college.

At the moment, Frank Sinatra offers Advanced Placement courses of all kinds. Sophomores are offered AP World History, Juniors are offered AP Language & Composition and AP United States History, and Seniors are offered AP Calculus, AP Literature and AP Environmental Science. Despite the many classes that the school has to offer, students are eager to take more and more AP classes.

“When I first started working here, AP Spanish was taught, however due to budget cuts we were unable to keep the course. We’re trying to incorporate AP classes in the students’ majors, such as AP Music Theory and maybe an AP Art History class,” Mrs. Apostolidis states.

A push for more Advanced Placement classes in the school has been a talking point for a while now in the school and the staff and administration are trying to find ways to increase the amount of classes being taught.

“I would like to see an AP Government class at Frank Sinatra. I feel like a lot of students are interested in careers in politics and government and are eager to tackle challenging problems,” Annaliese Rozos, an AP Literature student said.

Advanced Placement classes are an amazing way to challenge oneself in a learning environment. They show academic rigor in one’s schedule at such a young age, not to mention it also impresses college admissions officers during the application process.

– by Chrysa Karaolis ’17