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South Country Students Gain Educational Advantage with AP Capstone

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With the inauguration of an AP Capstone Research course at South Country High School, students will have the opportunity to earn the prestigious AP Capstone designation on their diplomas.

“We are so excited to offer this program,” said Jack Burke, director of STEM. “Through Capstone, our students will move on to their college experience ahead of their peers.”

To earn an AP Capstone diploma, students are required to complete both AP Capstone Seminar and AP Capstone Research. The AP Capstone Seminar course was first offered during the 2020-21 school year, with the goal to provide AP Capstone Research this year.

The two courses were designed under AP Capstone guidelines and following research and implementation by Burke and Jackie O’Hagan, director of humanities.

“We wanted to ensure we instituted the best model,” said O’Hagan. “We spoke to colleagues in other districts and made decisions based on our research.”

Their hard work resulted in a two-year AP Capstone sequence that provides students with an experience that will demonstrate their high level of achievement, allow them to excel in Advanced Placement courses and set them apart when applying for college.

The yearlong AP Capstone Seminar focuses on a high level of academic writing through team and individual presentations that students must complete during the course of the school year. Students are encouraged to take the class, which is co-taught by Kristen Fehr-Thompson and John Bishop, during their sophomore year. Currently, there are close to 125 students enrolled in the course.

The AP Research class, co-taught by Christine Bellante and Andrew Budris, currently has 45 juniors participating. The course provides the tools for students to execute a research project of his or her choosing. At the end of the course, students must present their 4,000- to 5,000-word research paper that is modeled after a doctoral dissertation.

“The work students complete in [AP Capstone] is level-appropriate, but similar to work they will complete in college or postgraduate studies,” said Burke. “They become independent researchers, exploring academic areas that interest them.”

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