December - Pflugerville High School

Posted by Marcial Guajardo on 1/22/2016 10:00:00 AM

AP Capstone class to be introduced next year

Editor’s note: The following article is reprinted with permission. It originally appeared in the December edition of the Pflugerville High School newspaper, the Panther Prowler.

By Jackson Moody and Nathaniel Mosher
Prowler reporters

Roughly 365 high schools in the world have an AP Capstone program. All three Pflugerville I.S.D. high schools will join that exclusive list next school year.

Implemented in 2014, AP Capstone is an innovative diploma program that focuses on developing student’s research, collaboration and communication skills. The program includes a two-course sequence: AP Seminar and AP Research. AP Seminar will be available to next year’s juniors who have already taken three or more AP courses.

AP teacher Steve Gripp’s goal is to have a minimum of 15 students sign up for his AP Seminar class.

“I’m excited,” Gripp said. “It’s going to allow students to feel like they have ownership of their education. High school is a place where they have to follow rules and they have guidelines and strictures of teachers, and this AP Capstone program is going to instill confidence with the way they learn and take ownership of their educational skills.”

AP environmental science teacher Rob Quarles, who completed the AP Capstone application, said only about 50 schools in the nation were selected to join the AP Capstone program next year.

“I think Capstone is a great opportunity for our students to get a designation on their diploma,” Quarles said. “Getting into elite universities or elite programs is going to be easier for kids with that designation.”

Students who earn a 3 or higher in AP Seminar and AP Research, as well as four additional AP exams of their choosing, will receive the AP Capstone Diploma.

“Students will have to make qualifying scores on four exams,” Quarles said. “I would like to see a large percentage of those taking [AP Seminar] meet the requirements move on to [AP Research], meet those requirements and actually get the diploma of designation.”

Gripp’s short-term goal is increasing student awareness about the program.

“[The] long-term goal is national recognition,” Gripp said. “I want people to come to our campus to see how the program is run. I want to promote the AP Capstone program because AP Capstone is run through College Board and that is correlate with AP its going to raise the rigor of our campus.”

AP Seminar (Year 1)

Team & Project Presentation Individual Research-Based Essay & Presentation End-of-Course Exam

AP Research (Year 2)

Academic Paper Presentation & Oral Defense


Steve Gripp

AP English teacher Steve Gripp delivers a lecture. Gripp will teach the new AP Seminar class next year. Photo by Madison Masters