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:

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

Berkeley Heights’ Women of the Week (WoW) Series features Beth Ferris Sale

March 18, 2018

In honor of the women who are driving change, blazing trails and nurturing society, the Berkeley Heights Diversity Council is pleased to announce an exciting initiative called, Women of the Week (WoW) Series. In the spirit of community, we wanted to honor the women right here in Berkeley Heights who are impacting the world in their own way for the remaining weeks of Women’s History ...

Friends and Family Week at THE MAX Challenge of New Providence

March 22, 2018

We have had people tell us that they haven’t exercised for years before enrolling with us and just a few short weeks into their 10 week challenge they rave about their energy level, their focus, their confidence and so much more!

Exercise is for EVERYONE! Put your faith in a program that is Dynamic, Led by a team of owners, ...

Union County Celebrates Arbor Day 2018 with Free Trees for Schools

In recognition of Arbor Day 2018, the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is once again partnering with the Union County Shade Tree Advisory Board to sponsor the annual Arbor Day Tree Planting Program, which provides free trees for participating schools.

“The Arbor Day tree planting program is a Union County tradition that provides students with important hands-on lessons about the ...

Rutgers University Percussionist Leads Day of Percussion at New Jersey Youth Symphony April 14

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ—Traveling by car and bus from Albany, Paterson, and New Brunswick, over 70 young percussionist from middle school to undergrad will convene at 570 Central Avenue in New Providence on Saturday, April 14 for a Day of Percussion. Led by Rutgers University Mason Gross School of the Art’s Head of Percussion, Joseph Tompkins, students from New Providence and surrounding ...

ELCR to Host Webinar: ‘How to Use and Understand ELCR’s 'Horse-Friendly Zoning Practices in American Communities'

LEXINGTON, KY — Equine Land Conservation Resource (ELCR), in partnership with My Horse University, announced a new webinar “How to Use and Understand ELCR’s “Horse-Friendly Zoning Practices in American Communities” guide. Author and planner Christine Hughes, AICP, will show viewers how to navigate and use the new guide.

The webinar will be held on Tuesday, March ...

New Providence's Allen W. Roberts School Gets Security Walk Through by Police Department after Bomb Threat

March 12, 2018

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - The New Providence Police Department sent a letter to parents and guardians of students at Allen W. Roberts Elementary School after a non-specific bomb threat was reported on Monday afternoon.

It's the second threat  reported at a New Providence school in March. The first threat was reported on March 5th at New Providence High School.

Emergency ...

Driver Escapes Icy Waters After Car Goes Off Road Near Clark and Cranford Borders

March 21, 2018

CLARK, NJ –A car went off the road and into the river on the northbound Garden State Parkway between the Clark and Cranford exits during Wednesday night’s snowstorm.

According to Clark’s Chief of Police, Pedro Matos the car’s driver managed to escape the water.  Divers went in to the river and determined the car to be empty.  The sole occupant was ...

Upcoming Events


Fri, March 23, 9:30 AM

Dunkin Donuts, Berkeley Heights

Let’s Meet Up to Clean Up! BH Walks, a New ...


Fri, March 23, 8:00 PM

Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts, Maplewood

Strollers Present John Patrick Shanley's "Doubt"

Arts & Entertainment

Sat, March 24, 10:00 AM

Burent Middle School , Union

Union County Wide - March for Our Lives

Government Law & Justice

Sat, March 24, 11:00 AM

Home For Good Dog Rescue, Berkeley Heights

Dog Adoption Event


Sat, March 24, 2:00 PM

New Providence United Methodist Church, New Providence

New Providence United Methodist Church Easter Egg ...

Arts & Entertainment Giving Back Religions And Spirituality

Sat, March 24, 2:00 PM

New Providence United Methodist Church, New Providence

New Providence United Methodist Church Easter Egg ...

Arts & Entertainment Giving Back Religions And Spirituality

JCP&L Representative Describes Utility’s Actions During Storm Quinn, Answers Residents' Questions

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ – The format of this week’s  Berkeley Heights 'Here and Now' was turned on its head this week. Mayor Bob Woodruff reviewed what happened in the township following Storm Quinn and its predecessor Storm Riley, complete with statistics. He then asked a representative of JCP&L questions about the utility’s response, and how it was ...

Berkeley Heights, Here and Now: Redevelopment Updates

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - The Mayor's Round Table has been rebranded to "Berkeley Heights, Here and Now." This new format will continue to provide updates from Mayor Bob Woodruff, municipal offices and the Communications Committee want to hear from citizens, businesses and community organizations.

Included in this episode, Mayor Bob Woodruff addresses the status of the ...

Dear Susan: Beauty Tips from a Beauty Expert, Spring Edition

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 ...

You Want a Check for How Much!

 My first admissions gig was working for a small liberal arts college with a pretty hefty price tag.  Picture me at a college fair: name tag in place, pile of brochures ready to go.  An eager family would walk up and we’d start a conversation.  One of the first questions I’d get from parents was about cost and the moment that $50,000-plus figure left my mouth I ...