A P C O U R S E S | A W E L C O M E C H A L L E N G E
Many of our talented students want to challenge themselves.
The following report was, at my request, submitted by our Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Deborah Knott Walker. The information contained herein was too good not to share with our school community!
IN THEIR OWN WORDS
[The AP program] is more importantly a means by which one can challenge themselves and grow in a classroom of fellow students who actually want to learn.
–James Kaune, Co-Salutatorian, Class of 2011
Through studying for the AP test, I gained extra strategies to use on both the SAT and ACT tests and received a 4 on the AP test! The course also helped mature my writing style and build on the foundation from freshman and sophomore year.
–Cody Van Dussen, Senior 11-12
One major difference was that I learned the same amount both inside and outside of the classroom setting; my independent learning has significantly improved over the past year. This ability to learn indepen-dently is, I am sure, a vital skill for the college years ahead of me.
–Megan Zhu, Junior 11-12
Taking an AP course was probably one of the toughest things I have ever done academically, but it has also been one of the greatest experiences I have had in school! Although taking an AP course probably doubled the amount of time I worked on schoolwork at home, I do not regret taking the course at all! It gave me a taste of what to expect in college, and throughout the next two years I will take more AP courses at Valley.
–Matthew Valci, Junior 11-12
AP classes were very important to me. As a double major student in Mechanical Engineering and Business Administration, the credits from the eight AP’s I took helped me get a headstart in college and allowed me to go straight into upper-level courses.
–Matthew Kaune, Co-Salutatorian, Class of 2011
AP World History, our newest course, brings success to some of our youngest Advanced Placement students. The new course is an opportunity for sophomores to experience college classes. While it’s not for everybody, many of our talented students want to challenge themselves by selecting such rigor. AP Art History is another course that sophomores may select.Courses such as these help equip students to own their education by learning sophisticated skills such as critical reading, connecting big ideas to details, and precise analytical writing that justifies a writer’s claims. The success students experienced on the AP World History exam in May is evidence of their readiness for college level studies. The most commonly earned score was a 5, the highest possible score on an AP exam. 92% of the 28 students taking the AP exam passed.
How did a first year teacher help students to this level of success? Mr. Jim Heal is committed to students, works with other AP teachers, studies and prepares lessons that would move high school Sophomores to college level study. Meghan Zhu puts it, “He taught students to think differently and to develop new skills, vital for the college year ahead of me . . . [He] made us use a part of our brain we had never used before.” Mr. Heal attended a week of intensive instruction during the summer, College Board Summer Institute for Advanced Placement teachers. Just this summer, six of our AP teachers attended similar sessions of intensive training at Stanford and UC San Diego.
Along with our excitement about student achievements in AP World History, we are celebrating the outstanding success of all students who enrolled in AP Physics last year. Limited class size, excellent instruction, and diligent study led to an unprecedented pass rate of 100%. We applaud Mrs. Magdalena Kazberuk and her group of eager students. The average score was 4.1 with equal numbers of students scoring 4’ s and 5’s. Well done, students!
This year our students are enrolled in yet another first time course, AP Macroeconomics and AP Microeconomics, the latest addition to our AP Program.
The goal of the AP Program at VCS is for all students to take at least one AP course before they graduate. We plan Pre-AP experiences in courses that students take prior to AP in order to equip all of our students. VCHS does not limit enrollment in AP courses based on an “entrance exam.” A student’s enrollment is based on the completion of a required summer assignment. Through completing the summer assignment, students may determine for themselves their fit with the rigor of the course. With a number of students with broad levels of academic skill enrolled in AP courses, more students are taught the skills for success at college while experiencing college level instruction, study, and course management.
At any school, policies governing Advanced Placement courses directly impact the school’s AP score reports. Therefore, comparisons between schools must include consideration of student access to AP courses and AP exams. In addition to our “open enrollment” policy for AP courses, we also require students to take related AP exams because it is a significant culminating experience to a course of rigor. Our exam scores reflect a greater breadth of results and therefore may be lower on average in some cases when compared to the scores of a more selective homogeneous group of students in AP classes at public schools.
What we value at VCHS is reflected in our AP Program. We purpose to prepare all students for success in college. Challenging college-level courses are available to every student in multiple disciplines.
That is the Valley Christian difference.
DR. ROGER VALCI | SUPERINTENDENT