Uncovering the Ideology Behind AP Classes at Prep

Gabby Stuart, Staff Writer

AP, advanced placement, college credit. The premise of these classes is widely known, although, at Prep they are only taught to juniors and seniors. The purpose of AP classes is to introduce students to the rigor of college classes and give students the opportunity to earn a college credit.  With the exclusion of AP Computer Science, AP Sciences, and AP Math that require prerequisites, Seattle Prep offers majority of the AP classes senior year.

But, why is this the case? To uncover this question, vice principal of academics Mrs. Kheriaty, AP Chemistry teacher Mrs. McCorriston, and AP Government teacher Ms. Healy have come together to provide a solid response that will open one’s mind towards the structure of the Prep academic road map.

The main reason why most AP classes are provided solely senior year is because Prep strives to educate students, as Kheriaty noted, “in the Jesuit tradition.”

This means teaching the person rather than just providing a course for college credit. As Kheriaty said, “we strive to teach students how to think, and focus on the process of learning and growing.”

Going through high school is about more than simply taking hard classes. Prep wants to help students stretch their minds, so they are ready to expand into a college curriculum after graduation. To exemplify these values, Kheriaty notes, “freshmen, sophomores, and junior English and Social Studies curriculum is taught through our carefully designed, integrated Collegio classes.”

Collegio is a key representation of what it means to go to Prep. By mixing multiple subjects together, connections are formed. These connections incite analysis and a deeper understanding of history and English subjects. Collegio also plays a role in the graduation requirements of a Seattle Prep student. When referring to the graduation requirements at Prep Kheriaty described, “There is little wiggle room in their schedules to take elective courses and ensure that they meet the requirements both of Seattle Prep and Washington State.”

Kheriaty and the academic team work hard to provide mentally stimulating courses to students while still reaching the necessary graduation requirements. Kheriaty said, “students do begin taking APs sophomore year when it is an appropriate fit.” This includes science classes, math classes, and other electives that fit within a student’s schedule and meet their needs as a scholar. The rigor of Prep is based upon more than just classes, it is about in depth understanding and the creation of learning habits that will last a lifetime.

Mrs. McCorriston is the AP chemistry teacher at Prep. AP chemistry is one of the AP classes that can be taken during Junior year after the completion of honors chemistry and at least a 90% in the class. McCorriston describes that the path towards AP Chem is especially helpful because “you can take regular chemistry as a sophomore and it is harder in chemistry to skip a year.”

AP Chemistry expands upon topics taught in honors chemistry and in turn the chemistry course is transformed into a two-year class. McCorriston believes that having AP chemistry as an option for juniors is critical to establishing a solid understanding of chemistry and helps students develop scientific skills that easily translate to college.

On the other side of curriculum, AP Government is an AP class solely offered to seniors. AP government is a class that dives deeply into United States politics and the structure of the United States government. When referring to the work load of her class, Healy said, “the work load for AP Government is more manageable because according to the College Board this is a semester long course but Prep and lots of other high schools offer it over a year.”

The purpose of offering this class over a year is to go into greater depth on the topics. Healy described how it may be possible for students to take this class along with the standard Collegio class: “it could be possible but it would really depend on the ways in which this course builds upon some themes from junior Collegio.”

This means that if juniors, or sophomores, were to take AP Government then they would have to balance it with Collegio. Although, since seniors do not take a Collegio class they do not have to balance it.

AP Government, along with a lot of the history-based AP classes, expands upon topics and ideas discussed in the Collegio class. The ability to take AP government also depends on a student’s schedule and the courses that they are already taking. Time management is a key factor in taking AP classes and is a skill that needs to be established before taking on the challenge.

When describing the rigor of AP Government, including the homework load and complexity of topics, senior Bobby Larson said, “it is a lot like a Collegio class in terms of workload, this means 30-45 minutes of work a night.”

AP Government is a manageable class for many students and is often described as “not overwhelming” and “fun!” Senior Natty Poppe also noted that, “the information is straight forward.” This means that although the class may include the workload of a Collegio class, it contains material that is both straight forward and moderately easy to understand.

Lastly, Senior Cate McNett said that she enjoys AP Government because, “everything is happening here and now.”

Kheriaty added, “we are currently working on a plan which will allow for a bit more flexibility in student schedules, and we are also considering whether we should add new AP courses.”