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academics departments AP

Advanced Placement Courses

 AP Literature and Composition

This advanced literature course will engage students in careful reading and analysis of a challenging set of literary works from a range of genres including the novel, short story, poetry, and drama. The focus of the course will be on intensive reading and discussion of the literature, as well introduce secondary critical essays for discussion and evaluation. Emphasis will be placed on thoughtful and cogent analysis of the readings using a variety of theoretical frameworks and devices.

The course is intended to provide students with an academic experience parallel to that of a college level literature course. This course will also include a writing component that focuses on expository, analytical and argumentative writing about the literature through both discussion and essay format. Students are expected to be active readers as they analyze and interpret textual detail, establish connections among their observations, and draw logical inferences leading toward an interpretive conclusion.

This course also prepares students who do all the coursework for the Advanced Placement Literature and Composition Exam administered each May. Students will read, write and discuss poetry, fiction, and drama at an advanced college level while using online resources to develop skills including sophisticated use of literary elements and terminology, close readings of various texts, creating, drafting, and editing college-level analytical essays, preparing and writing timed essays, and advanced use and mastery of standard English.

AP Calculus

Calculus AB is a year-long, college level course designed to introduce the concepts of calculus and methods by which to apply these concepts to analyze real world contexts. Calculus is one of the greatest discoveries in history as it is motivated by a desire to understand the world around us in a precise and logical way. Hence our introduction to calculus will be a discovery motivated by the desire to better understand our world. All we need is our current understanding of mathematics, common sense, and undying curiosity. The themes of this course, limits, derivatives, integrals, approximation, and modeling are all part of a unified whole. Each will build upon prior knowledge and continually reinforce the concepts which came before. Our goal is to understand the fundamental concepts of calculus and their applications graphically, numerically (e.g. using a data set), analytically (e.g. using an algebraic formula), and verbally. This includes a deep understanding of the relationships between each representation and the ability to use any representation to construct well-written, logically precise solutions to problems posed in any of these four ways. We will focus on understanding broad concepts and methods which are widely applicable instead of rote memorization of specific function types or distinct problem sets. We will compose understanding of these concepts together by building on one another’s ideas in group discussions, student presentation of solutions and concepts, and peer critiquing. Each day all scholars will work collaboratively to discover concepts, tackle rigorous problems, and create written justifications for all aspects of their work. Right from the beginning of the year we will work on questions from previous AP exams and require written solutions and justification. Daily homework assignments will consist of further opportunity for discovery and college level mathematical writing – this is a vital component toward building the mental fortitude and sense making skills needed to succeed on the AP exam, in future math courses, and in one’s chosen profession.

Outside of class time scholars will use interactive videos (which I create) to prepare for class by addressing new concepts, test mastery with embedded questions and feedback, and provide an online forum for student discussion. You can think of these videos as being the closest thing to a classic lecture - I prefer to think of them as facilitators of new understanding. This will allow us to devote class time to building deeper understanding of concepts and applications of these concepts on a higher level within a collaborative atmosphere. We will utilize computer technology with TI-84+ calculators. We will develop methods by which to use calculators to build understanding, verify solutions, and make numerical approximations. Fluency with technology will come from a deep understanding of content and allow us to work more efficiently; we will not rely on calculators to make up for lack of understanding.

AP U.S. History (11th grade, 2 Semesters)

This accelerated two- semester class for juniors explores the same themes, problems, and issues that are examined in the college prep survey course in American history. This course, however, will go into greater depth, place a stronger emphasis on primary source documents, as well as other formal documents that have played important roles in American History. The AP U.S. History course covers the pre-Columbian period to the present. The course is taught in accordance with the AP U.S. History curriculum framework, and is designed to prepare students for the AP U.S. History Exam in May.

AP Government

The AP US Government & Politics course will give students an analytical perspective on government and politics in the US. This course includes both the general concepts used to interpret US politics and the analysis of specific examples. It also requires familiarity with the various institutions, groups, beliefs, and ideas that constitute US politics and government. Particular emphasis will be placed on social justice issues relative to political policy.

AP Spanish Language and Culture

This course follows the guidelines of the College Board® AP Spanish Language and Culture course and provides opportunities for students to demonstrate their proficiency in the modes of communication from the Intermediate to the Pre-Advanced range as defined in the learning objectives in the Curriculum Framework. The three modes of communication (Interpretive, Interpersonal, and Presentational) defined in the Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century are foundational to the AP® Spanish Language and Culture course.

The AP Spanish Language and Culture course is conducted exclusively in Spanish. Central to the course is the overarching principle as stated in the Curriculum Framework: When communicating, students in the AP Spanish Language and Culture course demonstrate an understanding of the culture(s), incorporate interdisciplinary topics (connections), make comparisons between the native language and the target language and between cultures (comparisons), and use the target language in real-life settings (communities).