July 31, 2018 -- The thought of taking Advanced Placement courses can seem daunting for many high school students. These courses, in which students can earn college credit through an end-of-year exam, are structured more akin to college courses with an increased rigor that includes extra work and oftentimes more stress.
Heights High School and the CH-UH City School District are working to alleviate these worries for students with their second annual AP Success Camp, which was held last week at the high school.
A total of 23 students, ranging from 9th- to 12-graders, attended the four-day camp in order to prepare for their upcoming classes in 2018-2019. The majority of these students have at least one AP course on their schedule this year, but some, like rising freshman James Huff, are there to sharpen their study skills and see what AP is all about before diving in as a sophomore.
“This camp has been helpful in terms of getting opinions of other people that took AP classes,” said Huff. “Seeing other people saying ‘it’s OK, you’ll be fine, you just have to work a little harder’, I think it makes it a little easier to say I want to do all AP classes when I get to 10th grade.”
The camp is led by Heights High social studies teacher Pat Fisher along with the district’s Educational Services Department. AP English teacher, Courtney White led a half-day workshop on critical reading and writing, and complemented other workshop topics including strategies for success, study skills, note taking, critical thinking, team building, and stress management.
“Even though we’re focusing on AP classes, it’s really helpful in any class you’re going to take because you’re going to have stress in all classes. You’re going to have work in all classes--so you can apply what you’re learning this week to all your other classes,” said rising sophomore Emma Vail.
Five former AP students served on a panel to talk about their experiences in taking AP courses. Dash Chesney, a 2018 graduate, discussed how he was able to juggle the workload while playing on the varsity basketball team.
“There were times that I would fall behind, but the teachers either stay late or come early to help,” said Chesney. “There were a lot of mornings where I would have to wake up earlier just to come in for school and there were times where when we had study tables I would go talk to my teachers. Or I would go during my lunch hour. That helped me get caught up and freed up more time after school for sports and still maintain good grades.”
AP teachers O’Dasha Blue (AP chemistry), Joyce Bukovac (AP statistics), and Mark Sack (AP psychology) served on a panel to talk with the students about what to expect in AP classes from a teacher’s perspective.
Heights High offers 19 AP classes, available in the subject areas of English, math, science, social studies, world languages, economics, art, and music. The full description of AP courses can be found in the CHHS program planning guide.