Two Newest Advanced Placement Courses Thriving In Half Hollow Hills

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Students Achieving Great Success In AP Seminar And AP Computer Science Principles Classes

Students at Half Hollow Hills High School East and High School West have shown great interest and success in AP Seminar and AP Computer Science Principles, the two newest Advanced Placement courses offered by the College Board. During the 2018-19 school year, Half Hollow Hills offered AP Seminar for the first time; students from the district out-performed peers from across the state and globe on the AP exam. As the AP Computer Science Principles class rolls into its fourth year in the district in 2019-20, the number of students enrolling in the program has increased by almost four times the original amount from 2016-17.

The AP Seminar class is the first half of the two-year AP Capstone program, which encourages students to demonstrate critical thinking, collaboration and academic research skills. Of the 187 sophomores that took the AP Seminar course in Half Hollow Hills last year, 96.3% of them achieved scores of three or higher on the AP exam. The results in the district were significantly higher than the 73% of students who scored three or higher in New York State, or 81% achieving those scores globally.

“It is wonderful to see our students thriving in a course that gives them the opportunity to investigate real-world topics from multiple perspectives,” said Lorraine Lupinskie, the director of social studies in Half Hollow Hills. “The course equips students with vital skills like how to collect and analyze information with accuracy and precision, develop arguments based on facts and how to effectively communicate them.”

AP Computer Science Principles is an introductory college-level computing course where students cultivate their understanding of computer science through working with data, collaborating to solve problems and developing computer programs. The interest in this course in Half Hollow Hills has expanded so much since its inception four years ago that enrollment has grown from 54 students in three sections during 2016-17 to 269 students in 11 sections in 2019-20.

“It is wonderful to see our students’ interest in computer science and this course specifically grow each year,” said Ian Dunst, the district’s director of mathematics. “This is a course designed to make computer science accessible for all students, and enables them to explore concepts like creativity, algorithms, programming, the internet and the global impact of computing.”

Over 80% of the students taking AP Computer Science Principles in Half Hollow Hills received a score of three or higher on the May 2018 AP exam, compared to 69.0% in New York State and 71.2% globally who achieved that score. Their teachers were trained for AP Computer Science Principles through Project Lead The Way, a nonprofit organization that provides a transformative learning experience for pre-K to 12th grade students and teachers through pathways in computer science, engineering and biomedical science.

“We always seek out the newest and most cutting-edge course offerings as part of our commitment to providing all of our students with opportunities to excel in academics, athletics and the arts,” said Dr. Patrick Harrigan, superintendent of schools in Half Hollow Hills. “Classes like AP Seminar and AP Computer Science Principles help prepare our students for college and the workforce by equipping them with essential 21st century skills in problem solving, research and computing.”

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