CARLSBAD — A new Advanced Placement capstone program will be hitting the hallways of Carlsbad High School next school year.
In December, the Carlsbad Unified School District Board of Trustees approved the agenda item, which consist of an AP Seminar and research courses.
Both courses will fulfill the graduation requirements as a “G” elective class and meet the requirements to receive an AP Capstone certificate or high school diploma if students complete course requirements.
According to Robert Nye, CUSD assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, the program will teach student’s skills centered on independent research, collaborative teamwork and effective communication. The courses are specifically designed to compliment specific AP subjects students take in high school.
“It is a fairly new program offered through College Board,” Nye said. “Carlsbad High School applied and was accepted to begin offering courses in the 2017-18 school year. Students who earn scores of three or higher in AP Seminar and AP Research and on four additional AP Exams of their choosing receive the AP Capstone Diploma.”
He said Dr. Josh Porter, principal of CHS, along with staff were the driving forces behind applying for the program.
The school has a thriving AP program in place already, Nye noted, as about 600 students enrolled in at least one AP class during the 2015-16 school year.
In addition, 85 percent of those students passed, which places CHS among the top performing schools in San Diego County.
The capstone program, meanwhile, require students to complete several tasks.
They include analyzing topics through multiple lenses, plan and conduct a study, propose solutions to real-world problems, plan and produce communication in various forms, collaborate to solve a problem and make cross-curricular connections.
“We think that approximately 25 to 30 students will take each course at CHS,” Nye said. “We are hopeful that many of the students who complete both will be eligible to receive the AP Diploma at graduation.”
Initial costs for the program development, training and grading are approximately $2,500 per teacher, according to the CUSD.
The site intends to train one teacher for the 2016-17 school year, adding one to two teachers the following year based on course requests and schedule needs.
As for the tools, a class set of Google Chromebooks will be provided, although new ones will be purchased every five years, according to the district. While the school district anticipates many students will bring their own devices, approximately $13,000 will be budgeted for the Chromebooks and printers for each teacher trained to teach the courses.
The program budget, meanwhile, may change based on student participation, district support and other factors.
The yearly financial breakdown is as follows:
• 2015-16: $15,500
• 2016-17: $15,500 to $18,000 plus $1,000 in graduation awards and recognition.
• 2017-18: $13,000 plus $1,000 for technology repairs.
• 2020-21: technology replacement rotation begins.
“The Board was pleased to approve the AP Capstone program,” said CUSD President Elisa Williamson. “We believe it supports our Graduate Profile in terms of students accepting responsibility for their own learning through independent research, sharpening critical thinking by cultivating their curiosity, and increasing collaboration by interacting with other students to achieve common goals.”