While the English department offers a variety of courses, unlike many other high schools, AP English is not among them. Still, many students take one or both of the AP English exams.
According to English Curriculum Coordinator Mary Burchenal, AP English classes are less important than fostering an environment where students chose their classes solely based on interest.
“If we offered AP, a significant number of students would forget whatever they were interested in and say, ‘I’m taking the AP because that’s what’s going to look best on my application,’” Burchenal said.
English teacher Rebecca Hayden said that honors senior classes are a joy to teach because the students really want to be there.
“They’re excited about the material, and we have a great time together, as opposed to thinking, ‘Well, I’m an honors student, I should take AP. It will look good on my transcript,’” Hayden said.
Dean of Faculty Jenee Ramos, who teaches junior honors English, says her students are excited about the courses offered to them senior year, regardless of the level.
“It’s about what they’re interested in and their understanding that no matter what, you’re going to get a rigorous education here,” Ramos said.
Senior Ndanu Mutisya believes that AP English should be available at the high school for optimal performance on the exams.
“For kids that take the AP exam, I think it makes the most sense that there’s a class to accompany that so they can do as best as they can on the exam,” Mutisya said.
According to Ramos, many students do well on the two AP English exams. She attributes that success to the preparation that students receive in class.
Ramos also teaches an after school preparatory class to help students studying for the AP exam.
Senior Rachel Eber, who had Ramos last year, said she felt well-prepared for the exam.
“Ms. Ramos encouraged everyone to take the AP test and said that her class, even though it was an honors class, basically prepared us for the test,” Eber said.
Ramos taught AP English at another school and was surprised that the high school did not offer it, but now sees that students can still succeed on the exam, even without the class.
“I have been really encouraged to find that students for the most part do really well on the exam without having had a course to take,” Ramos said.