What’s Up With AP’s?

AE’s New AP Course Roadmap


The DMAE campus is famous for welcoming and embracing new programs, people, and creating new opportunities. This year has been a challenging one, to say the least. DMAE has a new administration and guidance department, a new schedule with no ninth period, two instead of four lunch periods, and a new Roadmap for Academies @ Englewood freshmen courses: all AE freshman were required to take two advanced placement classes and they could not drop the AP classes even if they feel too academically challenged.

Pullquote Photo

This year and years to come are about pushing rigor.

— Principal Billy Bowie

AE freshmen are required to take AP Biology and AP U.S. History I, with AP U.S. History II to follow sophomore year. They are required to take the AP Bio exam in May of 2018 and the AP U.S. History exam in May of 2019. Additionally, advanced-placement classes will be implemented into all future schedules of the class of 2021. These new requirements and the rest of the Roadmap were laid out by the guidance department at Freshman Night, February, 13, 2018, an event sponsored by the DMAE Parent Teacher Organization (PTO). The PTO requested the information session as the result of the confusion and concerns of both parents and students.

“The Freshman Night information session was well attended and it appeared that parents understood the new Roadmap,” lead counselor Kate Drumgoole said. “However, the information session could have been done earlier to help students understand because the decisions were made in the spring of 2017. A session could have been held in September or October,” she said.

At the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year students were surprised by the AP requirements and tried to figure out how to respond to the added rigor in their schedules. Some students were overjoyed with the opportunity while others were just overwhelmed.

“I mean, this is a great opportunity, we get to earn college credits and diversify our resumè but it’s just completely overwhelming at first. No one really knows how hard the classes are until you actually take them, and by then it is too late to prepare for them,” freshman Joey Liberti explained.

While all AE freshmen were enrolled in AP Biology and AP U.S History I, many were unaware or uncertain about what it meant. They were not told about it during the Open Houses held in the fall of 2016, and it was only mentioned during the application process, not explained as new policy.

The information session could have been done earlier to help students understand…

— Lead Counselor Kate Drumgoole

New AP policy was also applied to upperclassmen unexpectedly this year. Students faced what felt like a completely new school, a school where they could not drop AP classes, where they had to give up lunch periods, could not apply to once available AP classes, or were forced into classes during lunch periods.

“Freshman AP classes are important, but so are AP classes for us upperclassmen. With the mandatory APs for them, it seemed we were sorted out of the mix and kind of ignored,” sophomore Irene Jacobs said. “This year I was dropped into an AP Chemistry class. I felt unprepared, and so did others, but even though we were struggling we could not drop the class due to scheduling conflicts,” she added.

At the start of this school year, what students believed to be a deep pool of AP classes became extremely shallow. Students were forced to go into only grade-designated advanced placement classes, rather than choose from a list that included Biology, Chemistry, Macro Economics, U.S. Government, Statistics and more. These restrictions on students have created an academic structure that they were not prepared for. However, some teachers seem to have confidence in their success.

“I think all students are capable of doing well in the classes. It is mostly up to them if they want to succeed or not, based on how much effort they are willing to put into it and the attitude they choose to maintain,” AP Biology teacher Joseph Melillo stated.

With these mandatory classes, many students question why guidance and the administration made these comprehensive changes to the Academies. The answer is what student have already found out: rigor.

“This year and years to come are about pushing rigor,” Principal Billy Bowie explained. “Rigor is critical to improving our curriculum and preparing our students for college and life,” he added.

In the end, all of these mandatory classes, new course Roadmap, and schedule changes have something in common: trying to make the school better. This common goal has yet to be realized, but the Academies @ Englewood is changing and only time will tell if it helps budding students to flourish.