Advancing the Challenge With Advanced Placement Classes

Shawyan Rooein, Centerspread Editor

Portola High should offer more advanced placement (AP) classes for freshmen and sophomore students in the future. Though the student body is currently only comprised of freshmen and sophomores, many are looking for the extra push to get ahead academically and to begin exploring careers they are interested in.

“AP classes are beneficial for students because they generally push students outside of their academic comfort zone,” U.S. history teacher Emily Sheridan said. “They offer students opportunities to push themselves academically.”

AP classes allow students to explore fields they may be interested in. Though electives allow students to explore their interests, electives do not provide the rigorous and accurate environment that students will face in the future, such as in college. Students can also receive college credit by performing well on the AP exam, which takes place at the end of each AP course.

“AP classes provide us with a good college experience, what we are going to experience at college and what kind of courses we may take” sophomore Kameran Mody said.

As the name implies, Advanced Placement, AP classes are more rigorous, as they are meant to be college-level courses. By offering AP classes to freshmen and sophomores, Portola would better prepare their students for those future classes and though there will be more offered in their later years in high school, as in their Junior and Senior years, offering more classes now would prepare them in advance. A few more classes, at these stages of high school, would allow students to pick rigorous classes they are interested in and see if they would like to continue pursuing these rigorous classes later on in high school.

“In general, they’re college level classes so students aren’t going to be prepared for a college level class until Junior and Senior year” math teacher Eric Graham said. “There are going to be very few 15 year olds who are ready for a college level class…We want to make sure we are also presenting the message of what we want for an AP class. I wouldn’t want a student to take a class just because it is AP.  I want them to be able to choose a class that would sound interesting to them or that would be something a little different for them.”

Though AP classes are indeed meant for juniors and seniors, there should at least me more available to freshmen and sophomores. Many students at Portola are already ahead of their grade level in certain subjects like math for example, so why should Portola limit their options for other courses as well? If we begin to offer more AP classes to sophomores and freshmen, students will be able to explore their passions more and ultimately help prepare themselves for their futures.