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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

AP Capstone sharpens skills, minds for college

Junior+Max+Greenberg+practices+for+his+team+multimedia+project+%28TMP%29+presentation+in+the+Media+Center.+AP+Seminar+students+work+diligently+to+perfect+their+presentations.
Photo by Jake Sklias
Junior Max Greenberg practices for his team multimedia project (TMP) presentation in the Media Center. AP Seminar students work diligently to perfect their presentations.

Juniors Max Greenberg and Shayan Kurup shake with nerves walking up to the Boxlight; the team is about to present a 10-minute AP Seminar TMP, or Team Multimedia Project, during lunch in the media center on Feb. 14 about the effects of ChatGPT usage on classroom English teachers. The presentation counts for 10% of their grade, so doing well is extremely important. With a burst of courage, the two confidently present their project to the judge, Michelle Hanson, a Seminar and Research teacher and AP exam grader. “I think we understood our presentation’s material very well which led to a fluent presentation. I think we earned a high score,” Greenberg said.

AP Seminar and sister class AP Research are part of the five-year-old AP Capstone program introduced to this school in the fall of 2018. The AP Capstone program itself is a prestigious, highly-regarded honor bestowed upon students who earn a three or higher on their AP Seminar, AP Research and four other AP exams. The two courses feature unique curriculums and are tailored to students and their individual needs. Seminar is a prerequisite for Research; a student can’t take Research without taking Seminar. Because Seminar is a course designed to sharpen skills and enhance specific qualities, it is taken before Research. AP Seminar involves multiple presentations throughout the year where students’ grades are counted as part of their AP Seminar exam score. AP Research, similarly, involves multiple presentations but is more focused on the quality of the actual research projects rather than the development of skills. “We [teachers] have to emphasize and deemphasize certain skills. The program is really designed to keep our students in mind,” Hanson said.

The aim of the program is to teach high school students college-level skills and get them ahead on college credits, allowing them more course options when in college, and ensuring they don’t lag behind their peers. “Typically, kids are given elective credit. Taking part in the program gives you time to do more later,” Hanson said.

The program is taught by widely-loved teachers; according to students, they’re very accommodating and it’s easy to see that they love what they teach. “I love Mrs. Hanson as she is an incredibly kind and knowledgeable teacher. She makes sure that I stay on the right path and know what I’m doing,” junior Charlie Balian said.

The varying curriculums for each class make it easy for teachers to enjoy the course. “The problems we were facing in 2018 are so different from the problems we’re facing in 2023. It’s really rejuvenated me as a teacher who’s been teaching for 33 years now. To be invigorated and excited about the everyday content is phenomenal,” Hanson said.

The AP Research class has a symposium on Apr. 25 in which students present their research project posters. It is mandatory for all research students to attend. “I can’t wait to see what my peers have been working on,” Balian said.

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