Seniors must attend AP classes after AP exams

Stacey Kim and Rachel Kogan, Stacey Kim, and Rachel Kogan

In the midst of the college application process, seniors have been hit with news that met immediate opposition. This year, there is a new policy regarding senior AP classes. Last year, after AP exams, the administration released seniors from their AP classes in order to complete senior experience projects. This year, teachers must continue their instruction in AP courses for the entire school year, and all seniors will continue attending these classes after the exams. On Oct. 22, administrators emailed teachers, notifying them of these changes.

“It is an unfair policy because after taking the APs we already finished the curriculum,” said senior Michael Kwan. “There is no point in attending AP classes anymore. We already got our AP credits from taking AP classes and the reason why we wouldn’t have had to attend them was so that we could get our senior experience.”

Participation in the senior experience program, which aims to give seniors an opportunity to design, create, propose, and execute a project of personal interest to expose them to new fields and skills, is mandatory for all seniors. In the past, projects have included community service work, internships, creative writing, and trips abroad. In order to complete their senior experience, students have four options: enroll in a non-AP government class, enroll in either the Film and Literature or Family and Consumer Sciences senior experience classes, enroll in senior options, or conduct an independent project. The majority of students complete senior experience through a class, but some students, slightly fewer than 100 per year, choose not to enroll in one of those courses, and must create their own senior experience projects under the guidance of an AP teacher.

“In my AP History classes that I have taken during my sophomore and junior years, we prepared for the Regents examination and elaborated on certain topics not stressed by the College Board curriculum following the AP exams in May,” said senior Jillian Knoll. “One senior experience project completed in the time that we would have gone to classes is a good alternative to doing projects in every AP class and will allow seniors to have real world work experience before leaving Schreiber.”

Students taking more than two AP classes have the option of deferring their senior experience to the time after AP exams. However, attending all AP classes after AP exams decreases the time seniors have to complete their senior experience projects. Insufficient time for the project is what seems to be worrying many seniors.

“If this policy is not changed I know that for me the result will be that I will be unable to participate in spring track,” said senior Ashley Pollack. “Having been captain of the team and dedicated to the sport, this is extremely upsetting. Between classes continuing, the required 45 hours for senior experience, and the volunteering I do over the weekend, there will be no time for sports. Not being able to participate for my senior year after three years of being a three season athlete is horrifying. I know that other people are being placed in the same situation.”

However, there is a reason behind the new policy. In fact, the policy that stated seniors could be released from AP classes has only been in place for two years. The changed and current policy comes from what the school enforced three years ago.

“We have found that there was not enough time between the end of the AP tests and the end of the year for the seniors to finish their senior experience projects,” said Assistant Principal Mr. Craig Weiss, who is in charge of the senior experience program. “When the project was first designed, the release time was much longer due to AP exams being earlier in the year and the Regents one week later. As a result, instead of the usual 6 weeks, the release time has been diminished to 4 weeks. Seniors who are in AP classes and are in a senior experience class will be able to start their senior experience in November and have the entire year to complete their mandated hours.”

Also, as of this year, the requirement for the senior experience has been reduced from four hours per week to three hours per week. During the second semester, the majority of students will in fact have release time to complete their projects. Out of those students, many seniors taking AP classes will be included.

Even with the new policy on AP classes, seniors have to complete their senior experience in order to graduate.