Livingston High School Ahead of the Curve in Implementing Advanced Placement Capstone Program


LIVINGSTON, NJ – The Advanced Placement Association (APA) has selected Livingston High School (LHS) as one of five New Jersey schools to participate in its newly developed AP Capstone program for the 2017-'18 school year.

Patricia Boland, assistant superintendent of Curriculum & Instruction, announced the news of LHS’ inclusion at Monday's Livingston Board of Education (LBOE) meeting.  Boland described the projects-based program as one in which students will be required to define an “idea for the future” based on an in-depth review of real-world problems, engage in unique analysis of that idea, and create viable solutions to answer the challenges it presents.

AP Capstone is a hands-on hybrid of the APA’s AP Seminar and AP Research courses. In addition to giving students who demonstrate academic promise a head start for college study, the new program goes a step further by allowing them to delve deeper into various inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary areas of academic inquiry.  The goal of the AP Capstone program is to help naturally inquisitive students evolve their independent thinking styles and prepare them to tackle more advanced, evidence-based research with greater efficiency and ease.

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Recognizing that the AP Capstone program closely mirrored what LHS was already focusing on in its science research curriculum, Boland, Principal Mark Stern, and Science Supervisor, Brian Carey, worked together to submit the necessary paperwork for consideration.

While AP Capstone is a two-year program, it offers the flexibility for students to opt into participating for one or both years. During the first year, sophomore and/or junior students will be tasked with learning how a researcher goes about the research process, specific techniques used in research, and how researches work in teams. Upon completion of the first year, participants will take an AP exam that covers critical thinking, biases and statistics. Those choosing to continue on for the second year will produce a singular project. Following the completion of their project, second year students will be eligible to receive the AP Capstone Diploma.

“Our intention is to start with the one year program and build up to the two year program,” said Boland. “One of the major considerations of the Capstone program is to involve students who aren’t just good at memorizing and analyzing things but who are also adept at being hands-on and who may have different strengths.”

Implementing the Capstone program will involve additional summer training for science-research teachers and will give them access to more advanced teaching tools. 

When AP Capstone rolls out in 2017, it will have a sole focus on science research, which will make success in the program’s inaugural year easier—as LHS already has a proven track record with a similar program at the school. In subsequent years, the program will expand to include disciplines such as historical research, music or the arts, in order to draw a wider array of students with varying interests.

“We hope that AP Capstone will attract a diverse spectrum of students who are interested in doing something original,” said Boland.

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