Governor Livingston Social Studies Department Earns an ‘A’ for AP Scores

Students in Mr. Ben Bolger’s AP U.S. History class discuss America’s entry into World War I

The Governor Livingston High School social studies department earned an A for their 2016-17 AP scores when a total of 205 of the 220 students (93%) who took AP exams through the department received passing scores of 3 or higher on a 5 point scale.   If a student earns a 3 or higher on an AP exam they might be eligible for college credit or advanced standing. The average passing score for the department was an outstanding 4.02.

“I was really pleased to see both how many students took AP exams through the social studies department and how well they did” said GLHS Principal Rob Nixon.

The numbers back up this claim as the 220 total tests in the social studies department represent 30% of the total tests taken at GLHS – the highest percentage of any subject area.  

Sign Up for E-News

The GLHS social studies department prepares students to take four different AP exams.  The flagship of the department is the AP United States History course.  This year 90 students took the course and the exam. An impressive 87 of those students passed with a class average of well over a 4.  The other AP courses offered are electives for juniors and seniors: AP Microeconomics and AP Macroeconomics and AP European History.   The teachers responsible for the success are Ben Bolger, April Burke, and Jackie Hudacko for AP U.S. History; Megan Wranitz for the two AP Economics courses, and Sharon Leahy for AP European History.  

Ben Bolger though was quick to share the credit. “It isn’t just the work that we do with them in the AP class,” he said. “One of the things that make our jobs easier as AP teachers is that the entire department from 6th grade on focuses on important skills like primary document analysis, critical reading, historical reasoning, and writing.  These exams are nationally competitive and cover a tremendous amount of information at a very high level.  It is a team effort. ”  The AP U.S. History course covers all aspects of American history from the pre-colonial period to the present day, while AP European History starts in the 1300s and ends with Brexit.

Another reason for the success of the program is the number of teachers who attend AP grading.  According to GLHS Principal Rob Nixon “ we are fortunate enough to have three teachers in the department who applied and were chosen to attend AP grading.  We are very thankful that our Board of Education is so supportive. For example, Sharon Leahy is a question leader for AP European History.  That means she works with the College Board historian who wrote the test to develop the grading standard for a particular essay question.  The insights she gains from this benefits more than just the AP European class; it makes the whole program better.”

Megan Wranitz who is a grader for the AP Economics exam echoed Nixon’s words “Being an AP grader isn’t just about sitting and grading exams for 8 hours a day for days on end.  It is the best professional development opportunity there is. Every day I meet other professionals, both university professors and high school teachers, who are the best in the country and discuss their practice.” She added, “Also, just about every night there is some form of professional development available, my students absolutely benefit from my being a grader.”

GLHS principal Rob Nixon summed it up by saying “I am very proud of the great job done by both the teachers and the students.”  He continued, “Anytime we help students challenge themselves by working at the highest level possible we are helping them be better prepared for college and for life.”

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

Your Doctor in Sickness and in Health

December 11, 2017

About 3 years ago, around the time healthcare was saying its last goodbyes to solo practitioners, I decided to plunge into the world of private practice and one morning announced to my family, “I am starting a new primary care solo practice.” I am an Internist of Asian Indian origin and I graduated from residency about twenty years ago. To say that my family was bewildered is an ...

Musicians with Disabilities and Kean University Music Majors to Host Collaborative Concert Jan. 5

December 16, 2017

UNION COUNTY, NJ--Musicians with developmental disabilities and Kean University music majors will host a collaborative concert Jan. 5 at the Wilkins Theater at Kean University beginning at 7:30 p.m. About 25 members of the Academy of Continuing Education (ACE) for adults with disabilities will be joined by about 20 Kean music majors. Choirs from middle schools in Elizabeth, Rahway, Roselle Park ...

Free Tax Return Help at the New Providence Senior Citizens Center


New Providence, Berkeley Heights, and other area residents can obtain free assistance in preparing and filing their individual 2017 tax returns.  There are no age or income limitations for participation in the program, but taxpayers with complex returns may be advised to seek paid assistance.  Free assistance will be provided at the New Providence Senior Citizens Center ...

New Opportunity for Women Business Owners in Union County

UNION COUNTY, NJ--The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders reminds women business owners that they may be eligible for discounted loans offered by the Union County Economic Development Corporation.

UCEDC has been named the exclusive New Jersey lending partner for discounted loans available to women-owned businesses, through a grant from the Tory Burch Foundation Capital Program. The ...

Free Spousal Bereavement Support Group Begins January

SUMMIT, NJ — Starting Tuesday, January 9, SAGE Eldercare will offer a free bereavement support group for people age 60 and older who have lost a spouse in the last year. 

The support group will be led by Licensed Clinical Social Worker Kathy Larkin, SAGE’s InfoCare Manager, and provide the opportunity to understand the grieving process, gain emotional support, and share ...

Winter Weather Advisory Issued as First Snowfall of the Season Arrives on Saturday

December 8, 2017

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - - The first snowfall of the season will be arriving on Saturday morning according to the National Weather Service(NWS) in New York. 

A “Winter Weather Advisory” is in effect from 6 a.m. Saturday morning until 6 a.m. on Sunday.

According to the NWS advisory, Union County can expect snow accumulations of 2 to 4 inches, with the possibility of ...

Rutgers to raise minimum wage to $11 an hour for student workers

December 12, 2017

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Rutgers University will be raising the campus-wide minimum wage to $11 an hour, university president Robert Barchi announced in a campus-wide email on December 11.

The move comes as a partial victory for the local labor rights group, Rutgers United Students Against Sweatshops​ (RUSAS)​, wh​ich ha​s​ been campaigning for a $15 minimum wage.

Right now, the ...

ConRail Working on Track Clean Up Following Friday's Derailment in Union; Train Service Still Suspended

December 9, 2017

UNION, NJ – No hazardous material was involved in the freight train derailment Friday afternoon in Union.

“There’s severe damage to the tracks,” said Union Fire Chief Mike Scanio at a press conference Friday evening.  “There’s multiple piles of cars at different locations up and down the span of the tracks from the Roselle Park line all the way through ...

Upcoming Events

Sat, December 16

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Volunteer Art Show!

Arts & Entertainment Green


Sat, December 16

Summit YMCA, Summit

Summit YMCA Holiday Angel Tree

Giving Back


Sat, December 16, 11:00 AM

TMC's Boutique, New Providence

Kids' Shopping Days at TMC's Boutique in New ...

Arts & Entertainment

Sat, December 16, 11:00 AM

New Providence Memorial Library, New Providence

Memoir Writing Workshop

Arts & Entertainment


Sat, December 16, 12:00 PM

Summit YMCA, Summit

Summit YMCA Holiday Angel Tree

Giving Back

Berkeley Heights U10 Boys Soccer Team Captures Championship at 5v5 Winter Tournament

CARLSTADT, NJ - Berkeley Heights Team Azzurri U10 boys soccer team took home the Sofive 5v5 Winter Tournament Series Championship in Carlstadt on Saturday.

The team defeated SABA NYC, 1-1, and Wayne, 2-1, and tied Wykcoff Y, 1-1, to advance to the championship game.The team defeated Fort Lee, 3-1, in the championship game.

Team Azzurri players: Sammy Bartiromo, ...

Dear Susan: Beauty Tips from a Beauty Expert

SUSAN BARBAGLIA, owner of Skin Deep Salon and Spa in New Providence, offers a wealth of knowledge and expertise as a leader in the beauty industry. With over thirty years experience in skin care, Susan can answer your most challenging beauty questions. Email your ...

Market Forecasts: Helpful or Useless?

The financials industry spends a lot of time and money on preparing stock and bond market forecasts – especially at this time of year --  but are they “helpful” or “useless” when it comes to making investment decisions?  In my opinion, most of these forecasts have little predictive power. In other words, they’re useless in terms of providing ...

The Mommy's Review - Coco

Corre, no camines (that’s “run, don’t walk!”) to see Coco, the newest animated feature film from Pixar Animation Studios/Disney. This beautiful movie is something that families will cherish seeing together. Like Moana last year, I took my family (ages 7 to 70+) to see Coco over Thanksgiving weekend, and everyone was delighted by the splendor of this wonderful cinematic ...