St. Ursula Academy has been invited by the College Board to join four other Ohio high schools that offer the AP Capstone Program, beginning with the 2015-2016 school year. The Capstone Program will complement the sixteen AP courses and 18 honors level courses currently offered at SUA.
The two courses in the program are AP Seminar and AP Research. In the AP Seminar class, which will be offered to sophomores, the students will focus on the inquiry and research skills that colleges have indicated are necessary for advanced academic success, focusing on topics chosen by the students. Using articles, research studies, interviews and literary and philosophical texts, students will propose solutions to real-life problems. They will use cross-curricular connections and teamwork to complete individual and group projects. Additionally, students will present and defend their research to their instructor and their peers.
The follow-up course, AP Research, will be offered in 2016-2017 to those students who have completed the AP Seminar course. Students will design, plan, and conduct a year-long mentored investigation on a topic of their choosing. They will use the skills developed in AP Seminar, including understanding and analyzing arguments, evaluating multiple perspectives, and synthesizing ideas. Ultimately, they will present their research to a panel made up of faculty and community members. Students who earn a 3 or higher on both Capstone AP exams will receive an AP Seminar and Research Certificate. Students who score a 3 or higher on both Capstone AP Exams and score 3 or higher on four other AP exams will receive a Capstone Diploma.
Classes will be taught by current SUA teachers, who will attend the College Board's intensive training for the courses before the start of the 2015-2016 school year. School officials anticipate that 20 students will enroll in the first AP Seminar class. President Mary Werner explains, "This is a phenomenal opportunity for us to complement the strong programs we already offer our current AP students and others. The focus of topics chosen by the students fits with one of our core values—care of the individual—and we are pleased that the College Board was impressed enough with our involvement with the AP program to invite us to be part of the Capstone Program."
Maryanne Hodge, AP Program Director at St. Ursula, notes, "Currently, more than 50% of sophomores, juniors, and seniors are enrolled in16 AP courses, filling nearly 360 seats. Typically, 80% of our students who take AP courses take at least one AP exam and 70% earn a passing score and college credit. The Capstone courses will give our students the opportunity to gain a set of skills that will enable them to perform well in their current courses and that will serve them well in college. The College Board has put together a very unique and exciting program, and we are proud to be among the first schools offering these courses and the only school in Northwest Ohio."