AP Western European History must be considered as an area study class

Sophomore students at Staples have begun their quest for the perfect courses to fill up their junior year courses. Pre-registration for courses for next year open up on February 14th. Each grade of students has a specific week they are required to to meet with their guidance counselor to discuss their plan for their next year of classes.

Photo by Izzy Sareen '22

Sophomore students at Staples have begun their quest for the perfect courses to fill up their junior year courses. Pre-registration for courses for next year open up on February 14th. Each grade of students has a specific week they are required to to meet with their guidance counselor to discuss their plan for their next year of classes.

Izzy Sareen '22, Staff Writer

Going into junior year of high school is stressful for most students, and preparation for the allegedly most difficult year of high school begins  three-quarters of the way through sophomore year at Staples High School. 

Students are required to have their courses for junior year selected and finalized by March of their sophomore year in order to avoid any last-minute changes.  To graduate Staples, the Board of Education requires students to take at least a half year credit’s worth of an “Area Study” course, which is the study of a specific area of the world. 

Staples offers a wide variety of courses that fill this slot, such as Middle Eastern Studies, African Studies, Latin American Studies, and more. Along with that, Staples offers an AP class for Western European history. But even though these classes focus on a specific area, these classes are not considered an “area study” according to Staples High School’s course handbook. 

According to the social studies department, courses are named area studies when they deal with the areas of the world that are not native to the United States, such as East Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa. 

Even though the Western Europeans had the largest influence in America and brought over the settlements, it still operates much differently than America does today. The European Union is in place for Europe, featuring a variety of countries that are either communist, socialist or capitalist. America doesn’t have a variety of states that differentiate from each other based on the way their government is run, making it extremely different than Western Europe. 

AP Western European History is a popular class within the social studies department, as it offers intense education on the history of Europe involving case studies, projects and great teachers. However, this course does not fit what Staples deems eligible to be an area study, due to the fact that the class features a curriculum based on studying the history of a region of the world that is native to the U.S. 

A change in allowing AP Euro to count as an area study course would help many Staples students free up time in their schedule, allowing them to have at least a half-year’s time to take another course that appeals to them during their high school years.