With the first semester of the school year behind them, the underclassmen at Old Rochester Regional High School are tasked with already looking ahead to their next academic year. Course cards have been distributed to the three grades over the week, and students are beginning the course selection process with the help of parents and guidance counselors.
One way ORRHS has helped families be more informed during this process was by hosting an information session on Advanced Placement courses for parents of interested students.
“I think it’s important to be completely transparent with families,” said Principal Mike Devoll, who ran the event. “We want our students to be successful, but we want them to be informed.”
Parents picked up copies of both the course cards and AP student contracts that prospective students will also receive. A separate sheet also highlighted the new AP Capstone program at ORRHS, which is currently in its first year.
“We’re one of eleven schools in Massachusetts with AP Research and Seminar, and I’m very proud of it,” Devoll said.
The Seminar class has run this year with two full sections in the English Department and focuses on synthesizing and presenting information. The Research class, which will focus on constructing and writing a thesis paper, was announced to run next year in the Social Studies Department.
One of the other new courses in the coming year is AP Computer Science run by technology teacher MJ Linane in the Science Department. The course will be open to Grades 10 through 12 and will focus on learning a specific programming language to design a piece of software.
Another change to the Science Department is that AP Chemistry and AP Environmental Science will no longer run on an every-other-year schedule. The two popular courses will now be offered every year in order to allow more students the opportunity to take them.
Each academic department leader was also on hand for the presentation to speak more in-depth to parents about the various AP courses offered in their areas and offer some helpful advice to those present.
“Even though a student may not feel comfortable taking an honors course as a freshman or sophomore, it does not prohibit them from taking an AP course their junior or senior years,” English teacher Robert Biehl commented.
“The AP night was very helpful,” said Marissa Perez-Dormitzer, a parent of a current freshman student. “It gave me an idea of the difficulty level that my son can expect from AP courses. I was impressed by how many AP courses are available at ORR and that he can begin to take them as a sophomore.”
Students must submit their completed their course selection cards to the guidance office by February 16.
By Jo Caynon