AP United States History Fades Out of the History Curriculum


AP United States History Students 2013-2014

Written By Jonathan Markovics |

AP United States History Students 2013-2014
AP United States History Students 2013-2014

Social Studies teacher Ms. Diana Rizzo has been teaching the AP United States History class for eight years at Morgan.  Unfortunately, the AP United States History class will be fading out of the history curriculum at Morgan next year.  The AP United States History class is no longer a requirement for junior honors students at Morgan, and only a couple of students registered for the class; therefore, the class will not be offered.

Mrs. Keri Hagness, Principal at Morgan, commented, “Next year we will promote all of the AP classes more.  There are a new AP classes for next school year (AP Government, AP Environmental Science) in various curriculum’s, that might have taken away from AP classes currently offered.”

In the eight years that Ms. Rizzo has been teaching the class, she has achieved extremely good scores.  None of her students ever received the score of a one on the exam, but five of her students have received a score of a two on the exam.  All the rest of her students have passed the AP United States History exam with flying colors.

Ms. Rizzo prepares her students with high expectations.  “I also prepare and improve the students’ writing skills with lots of practice DBQs (data base questions) and free response essays.  Content is also emphasized through multiple choice tests and discussions in class based on particular topics.”  Ms. Rizzo went explained that the most important pieces of preparation for the exam are the objective notes for content and the essays for writing skills and practice.  For each chapter, there are corresponding objective questions that the student should be able to respond to after reading the chapter.

Students are not required to take the AP United States History exam even if they are enrolled.  However, Ms. Rizzo strongly encourages students to take the exam if they have shown a consistent and honest work ethic throughout the year.

The AP College Board lays out the course syllabus for what Ms. Rizzo needs to cover, not the school.  Each year the content remains the same, but she mixes up the activities, crash course videos, and projects each year to keep it fresh and engaging.

Of course Ms. Rizzo is very disappointed about AP United States History not being a class next year, but she knows that students have greatly benefited from taking her class.  “The students seemed to have learned a lot from the class, and they do well on the exam, which helps to prepare them for college and excuses them from certain classes by gaining credit.”

AP classes might not be the best class for all students to enroll in, but Ms. Rizzo stated that those students that should enroll in AP United States History are, “Student who are ready and willing to work hard.  They do not necessarily have to be the brightest, but the work ethic is the most important.  I just want a student that is going to work hard.”

Emily Cuseo, a senior at Morgan who took AP United States History last year, commented, “Ms. Rizzo kept up a high level pace for the class and had us do endless amounts of work, but it paid off in the end because I understood the information and did well on the AP test.”

Ms. Rizzo ended the interview explaining the value an AP class has for a student.  “It challenges them. it helps prepare them for college, and it gets the students into deeper discussion and analysis of material that they hopefully have a passion for.”

Lucas Cummings, a junior at Morgan who is currently taking AP United States History, commented, “AP U.S. History is a lot of work, no denying that, but at the same time, I loved the course.  Ms. Rizzo is a super nice teacher and all of the work that we do helps me to understand what the United States has come to be amidst all of the confusing politics we, as a nation, are exposed to.”

Patrick McAllister, a senior at Morgan who also took AP United States History last year, commented, “Not having AP United States History next year is a huge mistake.  Yes, it is a hard class, but if you do the work, you are almost guaranteed a five on the AP exam.  It is probably the most time consuming class offered at The Morgan School, but in the end, the material mastered and good scores are well worth the time.”

As a student that has taken AP United States History with Ms. Rizzo, I strongly encourage every student at Morgan to take the class.  For me, it was the most history I have learned in a single school year!  Ms. Rizzo is a very dedicated teacher, and she does a fantastic job in preparing her students, if you are willing to put in the required effort.  In fact, Ms. Rizzo was choosen to mentor two teachers who are new to teaching an AP class in New York City’s pubic school system.