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Rio Rico High School offers AP Capstone Diploma™


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  • Santa Cruz Valley Unified School District No. 35

Azhp Ap College Baord

Rio Rico High School is completing its inaugural year for the AP Capstone Diploma™ program, the AP (Advanced Placement) College Board’s newest program offered in only seven Arizona schools.

Last week, eleven RRHS juniors presented their semester-long research as they neared the culmination of their AP Seminar program – the first of two classes in this new offering.

The AP Capstone Diploma™ was launched by the AP College Board in the fall of 2014. Over 300 schools nationwide and internationally are currently offering this unique opportunity, with a waiting list of schools hoping to add the program.

Rio Rico High School offers AP Capstone Diploma™ azhp-ap-college-baord-300x139The AP Capstone Diploma is built on the foundation of a new, two-course high school sequence – AP Seminar and AP Research – and is designed to complement and enhance the in-depth, discipline-specific study provided through other AP courses.

In the AP Capstone program, students take AP Seminar in the 10th or 11th grade, followed by AP Research the next year.  Students who earn scores of 3 or higher on the AP Seminar and AP Research Exams and on four additional AP Exams of their choosing will receive the AP Capstone Diploma™. This signifies outstanding academic achievement and attainment of college-level academic and research skills.

Alternatively, the AP Seminar and Research Certificate™, signifying attainment of college-level academic and research sills, is awarded for scores of 3 or higher on the AP Seminar and AP Research Exams.

Margaret Shaw, RRHS AP Environmental Science Instructor, has spear-headed the high school’s program this year, serving as the AP Seminar instructor for the first class of 11 juniors. Next year, the program will be expanded.  The Seminar class, offered to juniors, will be taught by Shaw and Nagesh Kumar.  The Research class, offered to seniors, will be taught by Loree Johnson and Morgan Falkner.

Last week, juniors presented their research which was video-recorded for grading by Shaw and the AP College Board.

“Our first year cohort of eleven AP Seminar students ‘strutted’ their stuff last week as they presented individual multi-media presentations and an oral defense on personal research related to the course,” said Shaw.  “These benchmark presentations are a component of the second of two College Board designated tasks that make up two thirds of their overall AP score for this course. They sit for an end of course exam as well.”

Students meet 4 days a week with Shaw during 0-hour (7:30am). Next year, as seniors, they will participate in the Research portion of the Capstone Program.

“It has been a real pleasure and privilege to spend my mornings with these eleven students,” said Shaw.  “They are truly remarkable individuals.”