WHY AP?

Each spring, upperclassmen have a lot of important thinking to do about the next school year. More electives are options. APs and Dual Enrollment courses may get their attention. Many students have to do some self-examination as to the academic demands they can handle. Thus, the prospect of enrolling in an AP course or courses takes careful consideration. When the new school year begins, and the decisions have been made, the hard work begins. So, why the AP option?

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Mrs. Kelly Davoli, Director of Guidance, praises the AP curriculum here at AWHS. When she reflects on the courses, she sees “value”. A huge benefit of the AP’s can be the “award of college credit and the possibility of allowing students to skip intro-level courses in college and registering for more advanced courses right away.” Dr. Mathews, Assistant Principal/Academic Dean recognizes the “academic challenges that go beyond the traditional high school courses. For the right student, a well-taught AP course may be good preparation for their college experience.”

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And that “well –taught AP course” requires a special kind of teacher – a teacher passionate about the AP they teach. AP courses are not traditionally assigned; rather, teachers are asked if they want to meet the AP challenge, if they can devote the extra time to training, if they want to “teach to the test”. Dr. John Ekstrom teaches AB Calculus. Like all AP teachers, he attended a summer institute to prepare to teach his course and took continuing AP Workshops. Eventually, John became a workshop instructor. Being an AP student in Mrs. Fraher’s AP Literature and Composition class has paid off for many students with AP test scores that resulted in college credit. Perhaps part of the reason behind so many high scorers is Mrs. Fraher’s love for those students, who sit in a circle in her classroom while delving deeply into the days class work. She loves her students “enthusiasm for the literature we read and analyze. They are so motivated to think deeply about themes in poetry and prose. Their essays are always so interesting. For me, it’s an honor to be their teacher.” AP Psychology and AP US History students are taught by St. Johnsbury Academy’s College Board certified instructor, Ms Meaghan Roach. Ms Roach was excited to train for the Psychology class. It was something students for a number of years requested that it become part of the AP options at AW. Many graduates have contacted Ms Roach to share with her “how thankful they were to have a foundation in Psychology before college.” What Ms Roach enjoys as a teacher of AP US History is that the “course requires students to research “history, largely through primary sources, and to be able to analyze the significance of historic happenings and figures.”

AP students are a tenacious group of students. It can be said that their teachers are as tenacious as their instructors. The combination of both is something that makes our academic community proud.