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Jumping the gun: Sophomores Participate in AP U.S. History Course

Jumping the gun: Sophomores Participate in AP U.S. History Course

 Every year, in Staples’s AP classes, a few lone sophomores appear amongst the hoards of college-bound upperclassmen. But this year, one particular AP class has gone all sophomore. Yes, a sophomore AP class.

21 sophomores accepted the invitation to the brand new, pilot AP U.S. History class, just for sophomores. These students, ready to take the college-level class right out of freshman year, have their own class period of “APUSH” to themselves.

According to Daniel Heaphy, the teacher of the class, it allows select studious, history-savvy sophomores to have the social studies course option more advanced than U.S. History Honors.

The class is hardly any different than the other APUSH classes, offered to only Juniors and Seniors. “The only difference is me giving more guidance when I present. To be honest though, it is a very insignificant difference.” Heaphy said.

Heaphy has warned the students that it will be a  difficult year due to the high expectations. “The first few grades are a bit of a shock,” Heaphy said.

 Brielle Hutchison ’14, an APUSH student, weighed in on the demanding curriculum. “I think some people in the class struggle with the workload.” Hutchison said.

But Heaphy seems very optimistic about his new students and their future in the class. “I expect them to meet the goal,” Heaphy said, “The kids are very motivated. I would say these are kids who have a very high level of skill, they write well, they think critically.”

 While he praises his students on their talent, he thinks the main reason they were selected for the class is their passion for history.

“They’re the type of kids that will laugh when I make really lame jokes about obscure historical facts and figures,” Heaphy said.

Heaphy believes that this kind of student should be taking AP classes as sophomores. “We don’t want kids taking a course just to say they had, we want them to learn successfully and take something away from it. If someone is not academically mature for a course yet, they should wait,” Heaphy said, “I worry about there being a push to take AP too early.”

For those who are academically mature, though, he thinks one AP could be beneficial. “It’s good for some to get a head start.” He said. “Junior year has a bad reputation because kids jump from High school courses to two AP courses. It can be a rough transition. One course sophomore year might help them out.”

Several nearby high schools, however, don’t have an AP option for sophomores.

At Sarah Dietzman, a senioratWestonHighSchool, says the occasional academically advanced sophomore is able to take an AP class with upperclassmen. However no AP classes are offered solely for sophomores. But She thinks an AP opportunity for sophomores is a positive thing.

“I think it’s cool and it gives students a chance to push themselves to different and higher levels academically.” Dietzman said.

WiltonHigh Schoolalso doesn’t offer AP classes for sophomores. Regina Heit, a sophomore at theWilton, has a different opinion on sophomores taking AP classes.

“I think it’s a little too much, considering sophomores have CAPT testing which takes up a lot of our time,” Heit said.

            The future of sophomore-only AP classes at Staples remains undetermined, but Heaphy, while cautious of a push to take AP classes too early, is confident that his students will meet the challenge that his AP class brings.


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