New AP courses will be offered at PHS
New AP courses will be offered at PHS
Posted on 11/16/2016
Puyallup High School was recently accepted for an AP Capstone program that would help provide competitive academic opportunities to students in Puyallup.

Applying for the AP Capstone Program is in response to an increased demand for more competitive opportunities in academics. The students involved in AP coursework have been limited in the options available to them, and the AP Capstone program is in response to those students and their hard work. The AP Capstone program also gives Puyallup High School an opportunity to remove some of the financial barriers involved in AP course work.

When Puyallup High School began looking into competitive academic programs they initially looked at the International Baccalaureate (IB) program. The IB program was too expensive, and the staff at Puyallup High School wanted to remove financial barriers so more students would be able to take advantage of competitive academic opportunities. The AP Capstone program proved to be a much more feasible option.

“We went on tours of some schools already doing the (AP Capstone) program, we sat down with them and looked at how they implemented the program, and then we started on the application,” said Lorraine Hirakawa, assistant principal at Puyallup High School.

AP Capstone is a pilot program developed by the College Board. The program is a two-year high school program and consists of two courses: the AP Seminar and the AP Research courses. Students who successfully complete the program and obtain scores of 3 or higher on at least four other AP exams receive either an AP Capstone Diploma or an AP Capstone Certificate.

The AP Seminar, typically taken as a sophomore or junior, is based on three main components: a team project and presentation, a research-based essay and presentation, and a written exam. Students explore real-world issues such as innovation, sustainability, and technology. Students must receive a score of 3 or higher in the course to continue. The final exam for this course consists of three components: a group research paper and presentation, an individual research paper as well as a presentation, and a final writing exam.

Lorraine explained, “AP Seminar is one of those classes that will leverage a student’s success even if they do not pursue an AP Capstone diploma. AP Seminar teaches students the tools to be successful in a college or university setting.”

The AP Research course, typically taken as a senior, is a course where students design, plan and conduct a year-long research-based investigation on a subject of the students’ choice. The final assessment is based on a 5,000-word paper as well as a presentation. Students must obtain a final score of 3 or higher to be able to receive AP certification.

In addition to completing the AP Seminar and AP Research courses, students also take at least four other AP courses of their choice. Upon receiving at least a score of 3 on all four exams and getting at least a score of 3 on the AP Seminar and AP Research courses students will receive an AP Capstone Diploma upon graduation. If students do not score 3 or higher on all exams, they will receive the AP Capstone Certificate.

Now that Puyallup High School has been accepted by the College Board into the AP Capstone program will pilot the program for the 2017- 2018 school year. Emerald Ridge and Rogers High School will implement the AP Capstone program implemented in the 2018-2019 school year.

Devin Konsmo
konsmdm@puyallup.k12.wa.us