Gael Winds


KCPS Aligns with CollegeBoard

Our newly instituted Pre-Advanced Placement curriculum has seen significant improvements to classroom instruction and student comprehension so far this school year. The Pre-AP Program through CollegeBoard is a set of academic courses that are back-mapped from Advanced Placement courses. Not only do these Pre-AP courses prepare students for content, skills, and success in AP courses specifically, but they also offer a consistent instructional model of plan, teach, assess, and reflect, which provides continuity for students and teachers across all courses. For years, Kennedy Catholic has aligned with the CollegeBoard to offer a variety of AP courses because they are designed to prepare students for collegiate work and offer the opportunity for students to earn college credit and placement. The addition of Pre-AP courses to these existing offerings has provided students with a more consistent and comprehensive instruction. Please see below for more specific information about how the program is helping our students in the various academic disciplines.

Mrs. Kalantarov, Social Studies Department Chair:

The Pre-AP program is a great building block for students because it not only challenges students in the classroom but helps them grow in other academic areas. The interdisciplinary approach is so valuable in strengthening students across the board. Students have opportunities to engage in history in a way which would allow them to develop and grow as high school students but also prepare them for their futures in college, career and civic life. Our new curriculum allows for opportunities to move away from the lecture based approach and instead actively engage in the study of history. Students find it fun and engaging. The Social Studies Department is happy to add a challenging and engaging course for our freshmen students to set a path of success for the additional three years of Social Studies offerings.

Mrs. O’Rourke, Mathematics Department Chair:

Participation in Pre-AP courses allows students to focus on the most essential and relevant math

concepts and skills. Students engage in retrieving prior knowledge in order to complete higher-order questions and problems. Students work with partners, groups, or independently to experience new concepts before applying a formal structure to these concepts. Students will develop and strengthen their important critical thinking skills that are so necessary for high school, college, and life. This is an “experience first, formalize later” approach applied by Dan Starnes (AP Statistics guru). This approach lets students see progress and opportunities for growth through varied classroom assessments that provide clear and meaningful feedback at key checkpoints throughout the course.

We are not just teaching to a test or teaching for a passing score. Pre-AP helps the students to “own” the information taught through active experience. It is not a passive lesson where students take notes and regurgitate the information on a test. Students must build on their knowledge (and own their knowledge) in order to successfully progress to the next task.

Ms. Willis, English Department Chair:

In the Pre-AP English classes, it is helpful that our students are exposed to 4 principles, which they experience across 4 disciplines. These shared principles are (1) higher order questioning (2) close observation and analysis (3) evidence based writing (4) academic conversation. They are applied and reinforced in English, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies. 

Having taught AP Literature for almost 10 years, I can clearly see how students are being prepared for the critical reading and analytical writing (literary analysis and rhetorical analysis) which the AP courses (AP Literatures as well as AP Language) require and continue to hone. Through this back mapping, students are better prepared for enrollment and success in AP courses, thus building stronger transcripts for application to college.  

The Pre-AP curriculum also allows the time for “additional study informed by student needs and interests and local requirements.” 

Unlike the Regents program, the Pre-AP curriculum is part of the national CollegeBoard. This benefits our students as they apply to colleges and universities well beyond New York State.

As a school, we are excited about the progress we have seen so far and thankful to our faculty and staff who have worked so hard to implement the new curriculum and help our students succeed. 

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