Advanced Courses Provide SCSD Students with Head Start at College
Published on 6/28/16
District News Academics Corcoran High School Henninger High School ITC Nottingham High School PSLA @ Fowler
Thanks to the advanced courses offered at all five SCSD high schools, students have the opportunity to take college-level courses through AP, SUNY ESF, Onondaga Community College and Syracuse University. Courses vary by high school and range from English, Physics and World History to Forensics, Media Communications, Entrepreneurship and more. At Corcoran, students even have the option to complete the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, an extremely rigorous, internationally benchmarked academic program that allows students to graduate with a special IB diploma. In addition to standard level and higher level course requirements, the program also requires students to complete 150 hours of community service and submit a 4,000 word essay.
Ashlynn Kitatake-Meyers transferred to Corcoran from Manlius Pebble Hill specifically because of the IB program, after attending a pre-IB middle school in Oregon. “IB is great because it forces you to branch out and do things you ordinarily might not,” she explained, noting that the program has helped her prepare for Brown University next year, where she hopes to study public health and human biology. “Beyond the regular class material and what you learn, the way you learn is different. They teach advanced ways of thinking, and the information in all the IB classes is interconnected, which helps you gain practical, real world views. It really takes learning out of the classroom and into your real life.”
Fowler senior Ahmanee Simmons, who has taken AP World History and several SUPA classes, will be attending Nazareth College next year to study theater arts. She said the rigors of advanced classes gives her some peace of mind as she prepares for college life.
“I feel like I know what I’m getting into,” she explained. “I know that I’ll be held to a higher standard. I know what to expect and I’ve been prepared to navigate challenging situations. Because of my advanced classes, I know how I should study and how to be better prepared.”
At Nottingham, a series of college courses are offered after school, primarily to freshmen, in an effort to give them an early exposure to these rigors of college-level academics.
“I wanted to push myself and make it difficult,” sophomore Kerin Berry said. “That way, when I get to college, it won’t be as hard for me. Plus, I just want to show people I can do it!”
Nottingham senior Dwan Hameed has taken several advanced classes for much of the same reason. “I want to lead by example,” he said. “These classes are more stressful because you really have to study hard, and the teachers don’t give you a second chance if you forget something. But I’ve heard from kids ahead of me that they really do help you feel prepared in college… so it will work out!”
Henninger seniors Ryley Bonferraro and Sierra Eastman will both be entering college as sophomores, and they praised the opportunity to take courses for free at Henninger, versus waiting until college where they would have to pay.
Sierra, who will be studying math education at Syracuse University, noted that Henninger’s advanced courses even allowed her to fulfill some of her college degree requirements. “In my SUPA Calculus class, I got to meet one of my future professors at SU,” she said. “So not only have I already met some of my core requirements, I also had the chance to see exactly what I’ll be getting into at college.”
“The advanced class teachers are our regular teachers, so they understand our other academic stresses in a way that college professors probably won’t,” Ryley explained. “That helped us get a taste of college without being so overwhelmed.”
Despite the challenges of managing a college-level work load, strict due dates and more, ITC Valedictorian Kim La said the opportunity to take college courses on the OCC campus while still in high school was invaluable.
“I have loved every moment,” Kim added. “Taking classes with college sophomores and juniors really motivates you—you see them doing well and you know you have to work hard so you can do better.”
Congratulations to all of the motivated students who will be graduating with college courses already on their transcripts, and thank you to OCC, ESF and SU for providing students with the experience.