• 2022-2023 CSPA Crown Award Finalist
The Student News Site of Thomas S. Wootton High School

Common Sense

The Student News Site of Thomas S. Wootton High School

Common Sense

The Student News Site of Thomas S. Wootton High School

Common Sense

A path to the future: New AP Seminar 10 prepares sophomores for college

Sophomores+Maximilian+Iano-Stockton+and+Aava+Nikakhtar+collaborate+with+juniors+Naysa+Mustafa+and+Diya+Khetan+on+their+team+multimedia+presentation+during+their+second+period+AP+Seminar+class%2C+which+will+be+offered+for+the+first+time+in+place+of+Honors+English+10+in+the+2024-2024+school+year.
Photo by Naina Giare
Sophomores Maximilian Iano-Stockton and Aava Nikakhtar collaborate with juniors Naysa Mustafa and Diya Khetan on their team multimedia presentation during their second period AP Seminar class, which will be offered for the first time in place of Honors English 10 in the 2024-2024 school year.

There is no doubt that this school is one of the highest academically performing schools in the nation. Our students are known to take a most rigorous course load, including a host of APs. As the college application process becomes more and more competitive, students are encouraged to set themselves apart by taking classes that have real world applications.

A new class that hopes to help students develop their research, writing, analyzing and presentation skills is AP Seminar 10, which is available in the 2024-2025 school year. The class is a first-of-its-kind combination of the elective AP Seminar and the required English 10 curriculums.

In the past, elective classes AP Seminar and AP Research were only offered for students in Science Capstone and Humanities & Arts Programs, until this current year, when they became open to all students. “Especially for kids who are required to take AP Seminar like Humanities & Arts and Science Capstone students, taking it in 10th grade really checks both of those boxes and frees up a period in 11th or 12th because it’s two courses in one,” AP Seminar teacher Michelle Hanson said.

Students see the benefits to this new course. Previous AP Seminar and English 10 student Kailey Waxman said, “If I could go back I think I would definitely take it because it would open up my schedule more and give me more opportunities for other classes.”

One of the biggest draws for students is that the class can replace a student’s requirements for an English class for that year’s schedule. There are only two other classes offered at school that can replace an English credit and are AP classes so this new course is sure to attract a large audience of potential students. “The idea is that really anybody can take it. I think the type of student would be one who wants to challenge themselves. Since it’s a project-based class, it’s a little bit different from Honors 10. It’s open to everybody but I think there needs to be a degree of motivation because of the AP aspect. People who want to do projects and are interested in learning those skills so they can move forward to college are more likely to do the best in the class,” Hanson said.

However, some students value the separation between skills and appreciate the extra year of practice before jumping into an AP-level English class. “Taking both Seminar and English 10 helped me gain a well-rounded basis for writing essays using concepts gained from normal English class. For example, I did not know what a synthesis essay was when we started seminar essays but at the same time, we learned them in English, so I used what I learned to write my essay,” former AP Seminar and English 10 student Daksh Badri said.

Hanson is ready to take on the curriculum planning challenge that this new class may present when she begins to teach AP Seminar 10 next school year. “We have to roughly keep to that schedule because of the way we have to do the performance tasks. The difference is that these are students who haven’t had 10th-grade English yet and so what we have to do is infuse some of the writing that the 10th graders need to learn, specifically, synthesis and so the class will have to be scaffolded for 10th graders,” Hanson said.

Combining the two full-year curriculums into a single-year class may be difficult , as the AP Seminar curriculum demands multiple projects that must follow a specific schedule. “Everything is going to be super rushed and stressful and there will not be much time for students to do well on writing their performance tasks,” Badri said.

AP Seminar 10 teachers will need to incorporate the required synthesis skills and guided reading books from English 10 with the required performance tasks throughout the year. “I think one of the major changes for the 10th grade is that we do want to infuse a couple of books that the kids have to read. What we were thinking about doing is using a non-fiction text at the beginning of the year to give us a basis of understanding or something we all have in common, and then using that book to springboard all of the different skills the kids have to learn, so the book we’re thinking about using is The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and that book is a non-fiction text and has a lot of themes and ideas that we can draw from for the skill-building. For example, we have themes around race, family, health, racism and medical informed consent and all of those things. The idea is to bookend the year with books and the middle two quarters are really going to be subsumed with the performance tasks that we have to do,” Hanson said.

Leave a Comment
Donate to Common Sense
$2000
$2000
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Thomas S. Wootton High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Naina Giare, managing editor
Junior Naina Giare is a managing editor in her third year on the Common Sense staff. In her free time, she enjoys listening to music and spending time outside with friends and family. You can also find her on IG @naina.giare
Donate to Common Sense
$2000
$2000
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All Common Sense Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *