Editorial: AP Capstone program is a welcome addition


Megaphone Staff

AP Capstone is a new two-year program the school will offer starting next fall. school year. The program constitutes a vast change compared to the traditional AP classes and tests, but all of it is planned carefully with the hope that with the departure of the IB program, rising juniors will give a crack at the Capstone program in the 2021-22 school year. 

The program is a two-year plan, so it will not be offered to the current juniors in the Class of 2022, but there are still prerequisites for rising juniors hoping to enter the program. Should the rising juniors who desire to take the classes meet the requirements, they’ll take two classes over the next two years. 

The goal of the program is to provide a replacement as a result of  the discontinuation of the IB program, while providing advanced classes that aren’t entirely in line with the traditional AP classes and tests. Thanks to the academic team, future students will be able to include the Capstone classes in their diploma. There will be an option if requirements are completed for students to complete the AP Capstone diploma, and they will not have to meet other requirements to get a separate diploma (as was the case with IB) if they don’t want to.        

Since the AP Capstone program is set up for two classes to be taken over two years, it will incorporate many of the major disciplines taught in each class and have them apply to the other. This method, called interdisciplinary learning, has many advantages over other AP or IB courses, which helped lead to the formation of the program. Each of the two year-long classes will either lead into or feed off of the other class, helping to provide continuity between the two.

AP Seminar and AP Research will be the two classes slated to be taught next year. The former will be taught by Dr. Stephankie Kuscera, and is recommended for juniors to take as the first year class, whereas the latter, recommended to be taken the students senior year, will be taught by Mr. Craig Blanchet. The decision for teachers is a wise one by the academic team, as both Kuscera and Blanchet have a wealth of experience in teaching IB classes, which will have similarities to the Capstone program’s courses. Additionally, Kucsera has a doctorate and Blanchet’s list of academic credentials includes a law degree. 

The courses, which will be focused on projects and large amounts of research and analysis, is a great way for students to take two AP courses while learning using a unique method that few students have had the opportunity to learn from before.

One of the best things a school can do for its students is to broaden their horizons with expanded course lists and options. Similarly with the new Innovation Center, which will allow students to take more STEM-based courses, the AP Capstone course allows students to try a new experience, one that hasn’t been offered in past years. The end of the IB program at Cathedral has undoubtedly thrown a wrench in the plans of many juniors and seniors, so the decision to implement the Capstone program is a thoughtful move to cater to students. For students who wished to take IB courses, and for students who were familiar with IB and are looking to transition into AP courses, the program provides a good medium.

Despite the concerns and utter havoc that has been caused due to the pandemic this year, schooling and learning have gone on, and the introduction of the Capstone program shows just how involved this school’s leadership is in giving its students the best opportunity to learn in future years. With all the new program has to offer, and the advantages it provides, such as a new version of an AP class and test, and a class that mixes methods and disciplines from AP and IB, the Capstone course looks to be a great option for rising juniors and for future students as well.