Story by Trey Martin, Justice Nawman, Destiny White
In December, Lexington-Richland School District 5 announced the introduction of the AP Capstone program at Dutch Fork and Chapin High School.
“The AP capstone is a set of two courses. The first course is called AP Seminar, and the second course is called AP research. Seminar the first semester, students work as a group and they have a research topic that they are supposed to define and present in,” research teacher Brittany Holden said. “So by the end of the year they’ll be working on individual projects, and that will lead into AP research, where they will individually work on projects.”
The program will break free of traditional classroom settings and curriculum, giving students the ability to choose the direction they want to go in.
“This program is beneficial to students because it has opportunities to allow students to study in the area that they would like to pursue after they leave high school,” senior Hayden Derrick said.
The skills the program offers, particularly in communication with classmates, colleagues, and peers, are appealing to some students.
“I would be interested in this program because I really would like to work on my communication with other people and learn how to interact with them,” junior Nameraha Thompson-Russell said.
The program consists of two Advanced Placement courses, Seminar and Research, and will take the place of Honors Research, which is currently offered at Dutch Fork to STEM students.
“I think it’s going to be great. Students already in honors research should be obtaining AP credit, and this will allow them to open that door and get ahead in college,” Holden said.
The rigorous curriculum carried by AP classes is a turnoff to some students.
“I wouldn’t be interested, not because I wouldn’t like the challenge, just because I have a lot of other stuff I have to do, and I have a lot more work that I have to do without that class,” senior Alyah Hancock said.
Differing from other more structured AP classes, the Capstone program offers a flexible curricular content model with room for creativity and student input. The Research class will demonstrate student research and writing abilities through a 5,000-word scholarly research paper.
“Research would allow a student to pursue a topic that they would be interested in,” Hayden said. “I wish the school would give students the opportunity to do more independent studies.”
While the class will introduce a new learning environment in the classroom, students wish the school would give more opportunities outside of the traditional classroom.
“I wish they would offer more out of school opportunities, like the school doesn’t really allow much more besides the CATE Center, like more field trips and more hands on activities because we really don’t do that here,” Alyah said.
When looking for classes, Hayden wants to make sure he gets the most out of the subject.
“I want the class to give me a real life application and not just material that I memorize and then later forget,” Hayden said.
The introduction of the AP Capstone program looks to elevate students thinking in an alternate learning environment.
“I think it would give students a great boost,” Alyah said. “It would challenge them to work harder and think smarter and it’ll give them more work to do.”
The program is open to any student who is enrolled in at least one other AP course. It can be added to a student’s schedule through the guidance office.
“I think it would be good because research strategies are important in college,” Holden said. “Research is an up and coming field, and every content area you need to know how to research.”