Do we offer AP (Advanced Placement) courses?
Advanced Placement courses are college-level courses that follow a curriculum prescribed by the College Board, the company that runs the SAT. The College Board holds an AP Exam for each course in May. Students can score from 1-5 on the test; a score of 4 or 5 will get them either college course credit or place them in advanced courses, depending on the policy of the college.
At TFS, we offer Advanced Placement equivalents. Some of our courses fit the AP Exam content (English, Calculus, Spanish V, Biology), and some do not fit quite as well (History, Environmental Science). Students in equivalent classes have the option every year to study and take the corresponding AP Exam. We choose not to go through the process to actually call the courses AP courses because we would lose the autonomy we have over our syllabus, an autonomy that allows us to fulfill our mission in many ways.
Historically, we let the students know that, if they want to, we will help them prepare for and take the AP Exam. This can create a lot of stress for the students though, so if it does not seem strategically important for their particular college goals, they don't tend to take it. Recently, our alumni have spoken up more saying they wish we had pushed them harder to take the AP's or offer other opportunities for college credit. We will be reviewing how we approach it and whether we need to articulate the benefits more clearly to parents and students at the high school level.
For now, our goal remains a balance between our "no ceilings" philosophy and a healthy emotional environment for teenagers who are trying to survive in a world of seemingly senseless stress.
Questions? Please do not hesitate to about it.