HHS will soon become one of only about two dozen schools in Tennessee offering the prestigious AP Capstone Diploma.

“It’s a really exciting opportunity,” Principal Bob Cotter told The Ville News recently. “It will put you way ahead of the game if you’re going to college.”

Set to begin next school year, the program will be led by English teacher Taylor Coleman. HHS will be the only school in Sumner County to offer it.

To earn the AP Capstone Diploma, which is a second diploma in addition to the regular HHS Diploma, students take two special yearlong AP (Advanced Placement) courses - AP Seminar and AP Research – plus four other AP classes of their choosing.

AP Seminar is a prerequisite to AP Research and must be taken in the 10th or 11th grade; students are not allowed to take both classes in the same school year.

AP Seminar focuses on building and assessing an argument, Coleman explained. First, students view persuasive materials (articles, speeches, videos, etc.) and assess the way arguments are presented and what makes them effective. Once they learn those skills, she said, students can choose their own topic and build their own presentation, using research and essay writing skills. 

If students score a 3 or higher on all six of their AP class exams, they earn the AP Capstone Diploma. If they get a 3 or higher in AP Research and AP Seminar but don’t take the four other AP classes or don’t score a 3 in the other classes, they receive an AP Seminar and Research Certificate, which is not as select as the Capstone Diploma but still highly sought by colleges.

Coleman said the AP Seminar and Research classes “give students the chance to work on skills that are touched on in other classes but aren’t the main focus.”

The College Board’s AP website says the two classes are designed to “complement other AP courses.”

“Instead of teaching specific subject knowledge, AP Seminar and AP Research use an interdisciplinary approach to develop the critical thinking, research, collaboration, time management and presentation skills students need for college-level work,” the site states.

Cotter called the AP Capstone Diploma “a great credential” for HHS students.

Story by Ava Heeren and Mandy Pirtle

    

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