June 17, 2011
New AP courses add to diverse high school opportunities
The high school's Advanced Placement portfolio will grow by two courses next year, giving students the opportunity to take college-level courses in 12 academic subjects and earn college credit in another 21 career-tech subjects.
AP World History is expected to get underway in the fall (pending approval by the School Board), becoming the first AP course open to sophomores. Veteran teacher Jim Crouch is crafting the new course to cover world history from 8000 BC to present day. That's the same period currently covered starting in middle school through high school, except the new AP class will be do it in one year and in greater depth.
"Just about everything that happens in the news today has roots in the past. Understanding the past unlocks the future," Crouch said. "My AP World History students will have the keys to understanding their world as no other OHHS students have before them."
A major part of learning about history is reading. Students can expect reading requirements well beyond the normal sophomore class, Crouch points out. "Some of the readings my AP students will do are through the eyes of those that experienced it," he said. "I will do my best to make those sometimes dreary pages of their history textbook come alive."
Down the hall in the school's Math and Science Wing, physics teacher Charlie Moser will take things up a couple notches offering the calculus-based AP Physics. The course is for those people "bold enough or crazy enough" for the challenge, he said.
"This will be a tremendous opportunity for students to bring their thinking skills and thus their learning to a new level," Moser said. "The AP class will be a step up for the truly adventurous."
Since the physics course is calculus-based, all students in the class will have had or will concurrently be enrolled in calculus. "This class will give them the chance to see that math in action and having it mean something in their everyday life, Moser said. "The physics will be made clear by using the language of calculus to analyze what they see."
In AP courses, students gain a clear understanding of the effort it takes to be successful at the college level. It was just 10 years ago that Mike Fisher started the school's very first AP course: AP U.S. History. That year, about 50 students participated. Last year, that number was up to 450 students taking part in 10 AP courses.
That's the kind of quiet growth going on at Oak Harbor High School over the last decade, Principal Dwight Lundstrom pointed out at a recent school board meeting. In addition, the school's career-tech program offers multiple courses offering college credit through the "Tech Prep" Program. Last year, Oak Harbor students earned 1,100 college credits through 21 qualifying courses. That's double the credits earned just eight years ago.
All the attention seems to go to state testing, whether it was the old WASL or the current HSPE , Lundstrom said. But there is a lot more going on at Oak Harbor High School, he said. Lundstrom pointed to the AP and Career-Tech programs, the number of World Language classes offered, the enormous popularity of the music and art departments, and the variety of electives available to students, as evidence that the school offers opportunity for every student.
"Whether students plan to go to college, join the military, or enter the working world, there is a route at Oak Harbor High School to prepare them for the next leg of their journey," Lundstrom said.