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AP/Honors Curriculum

Honors Program

Honors is based on the following two important premises. The first is the expectation that all students can perform well at rigorous academic levels. This expectation should be reflected in curriculum and instruction throughout the school such that all students are consistently being challenged to expand their knowledge and skills to the next level.

The second important premise of Honors is the belief that we can prepare every student for higher intellectual engagement by starting the development of skills and acquisition of knowledge as early as possible. Addressed effectively, the middle and high school years can provide a powerful opportunity to help all students acquire the knowledge, concepts, and skills needed to engage in a higher level of learning.

Prepare to Succeed in College
AP courses can help you acquire the skills and habits you’ll need to be successful in college. You’ll improve your writing skills, sharpen your problem-solving abilities, and develop time management skills, discipline, and study habits.

Earn College Credit and Placement
More than 90 percent of four-year colleges in the United States and colleges in more than 60 other countries give students credit, advanced placement or both on the basis of AP Exam scores. By entering college with AP credits, you’ll have the time to move into upper level courses, pursue a double-major or study abroad.

AP Program

Junior & Senior Year Courses

AP Art History
The AP Art History course should engage students at the same level as an introductory college art history survey. Such a course involves critical thinking and should develop an understanding and knowledge of diverse historical and cultural contexts of architecture, sculpture, painting and other media. It also provides an opportunity for schools to strengthen an area neglected in most curricula. In this course, students examine and critically analyze major forms of artistic expression from the past and the present from a variety of cultures. While visual analysis is a fundamental tool of the art historian, art history emphasizes understanding how and why works of art function in context, considering such issues as patronage, gender, and the functions and effects of works of art. Many colleges and universities offer advanced placement and/or credit to students who perform successfully on the AP Art History Exam.

AP Statistics
The purpose of the AP course in statistics is to introduce students to the major concepts and tools for collecting, analyzing and drawing conclusions from data. Students are exposed to four broad conceptual themes:
1. Exploring Data: Describing patterns and departures from patterns
2. Sampling and Experimentation: Planning and conducting a study
3. Anticipating Patterns: Exploring random phenomena using probability and simulation
4. Statistical Inference: Estimating population parameters and testing hypotheses
Students who successfully complete the course and exam may receive credit, advanced placement or both for a one-semester introductory college statistics course. This does not necessarily imply that the high school course should be one semester long. Each high school needs to determine the length of its AP Statistics course to best serve the needs of its students. Statistics, like some other AP courses, could be effectively studied in a one-semester, a two-trimester or a one-year course. Most schools, however, offer it as a one-year course.

AP Calculus AB
Calculus AB and Calculus BC are primarily concerned with developing the students’ understanding of the concepts of calculus and providing experience with its methods and applications. The courses emphasize a multirepresentational approach to calculus, with concepts, results, and problems being expressed graphically, numerically, analytically, and verbally. The connections among these representations also are important.
Calculus BC is an extension of Calculus AB rather than an enhancement; common topics require a similar depth of understanding. Both courses are intended to be challenging and demanding.
Broad concepts and widely applicable methods are emphasized. The focus of the courses is neither manipulation nor memorization of an extensive taxonomy of functions, curves, theorems, or problem types. Thus, although facility with manipulation and computational competence are important outcomes, they are not the core of these courses.
Technology should be used regularly by students and teachers to reinforce the relationships among the multiple representations of functions, to confirm written work, to implement experimentation, and to assist in interpreting results.
Through the use of the unifying themes of derivatives, integrals, limits, approximation, and applications and modeling, the course becomes a cohesive whole rather than a collection of unrelated topics. These themes are developed using all the functions listed in the prerequisites.

AP World History
The AP World History course content is structured around the investigation of five course themes and 19 key concepts in six different chronological periods, from approximately 8000 B.C.E. to the present.
The Four Historical Thinking Skills
The framework defines a set of shared historical thinking skills, which allows teachers to make more informed choices about appropriate ways of linking content and thinking skills.

Key Concepts and Themes
o The use of key concepts and themes to organize the course facilitates both chronological and thematic approaches to teaching AP World History. Given the vast nature of the subject matter, using both approaches — even alternating between the two — often aids instruction.
o The key concepts support the investigation of historical developments within a chronological framework, while the course themes allow students to make crucial connections across the six historical periods and across geographical regions.
o The concepts are designed to provide structure for teaching the course, serving as instructional units that can be addressed separately or in conjunction with other key concepts within any given period.
o By framing historical processes and developments beyond a perceived list of facts, events, and dates, the key concepts help teachers and their students understand, organize, and prioritize historical developments within each period. So the framework provides a comprehensivecontent outline organized by key concepts.

AP United States Government and Politics
A well-designed AP course in United States Government and Politics will give students an analytical perspective on government and politics in the United States. This course includes both the study of general concepts used to interpret U.S. government and politics and the analysis of specific examples. It also requires familiarity with the various  institutions, groups, beliefs, and ideas that constitute U.S. government and politics. While there is no single approach that an AP United States Government and Politics course must follow, students should become acquainted with the variety of theoretical perspectives and explanations for various behaviors and outcomes. Certain topics are usually covered in all college courses. The following is a discussion of these topics and some questions that should be explored in the course.
The purpose of the AP course in macroeconomics is to give students a thorough understanding of the principles of economics that apply to an economic system as a whole.  The course places particular emphasis on the study of national income and price-level determination, and also develops students’ familiarity with economic performance measures, the financial sector, stabilization policies, economic growth, and international economics. There is no single approach that an AP Macroeconomics course is expected to follow. Whatever the approach, however, AP teachers are advised to take into account certain topics generally covered in college courses. The following is a brief discussion of these topics and some aspects of them that a teacher may choose to explore.

AP English Language and Composition
The goal of the AP Environmental Science course is to provide students with the scientific principles, concepts, and methodologies required to understand the interrelationships of the natural world, to identify and analyze environmental problems both natural and human-made, to evaluate the relative risks associated with these problems, and to examine alternative solutions for resolving or preventing them. Environmental science is interdisciplinary; it embraces a wide variety of topics from different areas of study. Yet there are several major unifying constructs, or themes, that cut across the many topics included in the study of environmental science. The following themes provide a foundation for the structure of the AP Environmental Science course.
• Science is a method of learning more about the world.
• Science constantly changes the way we understand the world.
• Energy cannot be created; it must come from somewhere.
• As energy flows through systems, at each step more of it becomes unusable.
• Natural systems change over time and space.
• Biogeochemical systems vary in ability to recover from disturbances.
• Humans have had an impact on the environment for millions of years.
• Technology and population growth have enabled humans to increase both the rate and scale of their impact on the environment.
• Understanding the role of cultural, social, and economic factors is vital to the development of solutions.
• A suitable combination of conservation and development is required.
• Management of common resources is essential.
AP Program

A Different Kind of Class

From the moment you enter an AP classroom, you’ll notice the difference—in the teacher’s approach to the subject, in the attitude of your classmates, in the way you start to think. In AP classrooms, the focus is not on memorizing facts and figures. Instead you’ll engage in intense discussions, solve problems collaboratively, and learn to write clearly and persuasively.

The AP Computer Science A course is an introductory course in computer science.  Because the design and implementation of computer programs to solve problems involve skills that are fundamental to the study of computer science, a large part of the course is built around the development of computer programs that correctly solve a given problem. These programs should be understandable, adaptable, and, when appropriate, reusable. At the same time, the design and implementation of computer programs is used as a context for introducing other important aspects of computer science, including the development and analysis of algorithms, the development and use of fundamental data structures, the study of standard algorithms and typical applications, and the use of logic and formal methods. In addition, the responsible use of these systems is an integral part of the course.

AP U.S. History

The AP U.S. History course is designed to provide students with the analytic skills and factual knowledge necessary to deal critically with the problems and materials in U.S. history. The program prepares students for intermediate and advanced college courses by making demands upon them equivalent to those made by full-year introductory college courses. Students should learn to assess historical materials—their relevance to

a given interpretive problem, reliability, and importance—and to weigh the evidence and interpretations presented in historical scholarship. An AP U.S. History course should thus develop the skills necessary to arrive at conclusions on the basis of an informed judgment and to present reasons and evidence clearly and persuasively in essay format.

AP Macroeconomics

An AP course in English Language and Composition engages students in becoming skilled readers of prose written in a variety of rhetorical contexts, and in becoming skilled writers who compose for a variety of purposes. Both their writing and their reading should make students aware of the interactions among a writer’s purposes, audience expectations, and subjects, as well as the way genre conventions and the resources of language contribute to effectiveness in writing.

AP English Literature and Composition

An AP English Literature and Composition course engages students in the careful reading and critical analysis of imaginative literature. Through the close reading of selected texts, students deepen their understanding of the ways writers use language to provide both meaning and pleasure for their readers. As they read, students consider a work’s structure, style and themes, as well as such smaller-scale elements as the use of figurative language, imagery, symbolism and tone.

AP Environmental Science

1. Science is a process.

2. Energy conversions underlie all ecological processes.

4. Humans alter natural systems.

5. Environmental problems have a cultural and social context.

6. Human survival depends on developing practices that will achieve sustainable systems.