Written By Jonathan Markovics |
The Morgan School, which holds a place on the 4th Annual AP District Honor Roll, offers a variety of Advanced Placement classes AP European History, AP United States History, AP Calculus, AP Spanish, AP Biology, and AP Physics.
Social Studies Teacher Jeffry Motter has taught AP European History since the fall of 2002. Each year the class size ranges from six students to twenty two students. Motter explained, “The students need the content and the skills to excel on the exam. They need to practice a critical approach to primary sources throughout the year. This is done formally and informally through assignments and class activities.” The AP European History Class is accustomed to the acronym APPARMS (Author/Point of View; Place and Time; Prior Knowledge; Audience; Reason; Main Idea; Significance) to sophistically analyze primary sources. Over the years Motter has been teaching the class, the students have done well, but he doesn’t know the exact number of students who have passed. Motter shared that, “Students with a genuine interest with the subject matter are welcome.” As for the value that AP European History has for students, Motter stated, “It hones their analytical skills in general and makes them more sophisticated thinkers.”
Mathematics Teacher Stephanie has taught AP Calculus for two years. According to The Morgan Program of Studies AP Calculus, “includes a brief review of elementary functions and a rigorous study of introductory calculus. Topics will include: algebraic functions introductory calculus, graphs, limits, derivatives, anti-derivatives, and applications of the derivative.” Ms. White prepares her student through “practice AP problems and using a book that follows the AP curriculum so that there are problems students will see on the AP test.” Each year Ms. White incorporates practice AP problems, but next year she is also going to have her students practice timed exams and have practice AP problems incorporated into all the tests and quizzes. As for Ms. White’s students’ scores, they have been mixed. This year she hopes the scores are better than her first year teaching because she gave the students plenty of practice problems this year. White shared her views on who should take the class: “Students who are motivated to put in the extra effort that an AP class takes, and students who feel they are very strong in math, because it is very in depth and a lot of material to learn.” In Ms. White’s opinion, AP Calculus is a good exposure to college classes in the future, and AP Calculus AB covers more material than Calculus I in college.
AP Biology Teacher Chris Luther has been teaching AP Biology since 2002. According to The Morgan Program of Studies, “The two main goals of AP Biology are to help students develop a conceptual framework for modem biology and to help students gain an appreciation of science as a process.” Each year the class size varies. The first year AP Biology was taught there were only four students, but this year there were thirty three students. Besides preparing his students during regular class time, Mr. Luther stayed almost every Friday after school since October to answer questions and review the material. Also Mr. Luther met with the students over April vacation for a review session as well as the Saturday before the exam. Mr. Luther shared that the most important piece of preparation this year was the take home essays, explaining, “They seemed to prepare the students the best because they are open-ended questions, and the new AP exam really focuses on open-ended questions.” Mr. Luther does encourage all his students to take the test, however, it is not mandatory. If the student chooses to take the exam, then the student is exempt from the final exam at Morgan. Each year the students’ scores always improve. Each year about twenty percent of his students receive a five, the highest score possible. This year Mr. Luther added more time for students to work in groups to complete packets on chapter concepts. Mr. Luther explained, “Anyone interested in science or wanting to skip freshman science in college, but definitely if you are going into the medical field or health profession you should be taking AP Biology along with AP Physics.” Students that have taken AP Biology have shared with Mr. Luther that the preparation from his class has helped them a ton in freshman college classes.
Nathaniel Eddy is currently the long-term substitute teacher for the AP Physics Class at Morgan. According to The Morgan Program of Studies, “The Physics B course provides a systematic introduction to the main principles of physics and emphasizes the development of problem- solving ability.” This is his first official year teaching AP Physics because at his previous school there was not an AP Physics class but rather an honors physics class which was the same level and covered the same material. This year there are fourteen students taking AP Physics. “Only three of the students are taking the actual exam, and I met with them over the past vacation to prepare them for the material that we wouldn’t get to until the test was already over” Eddy mentioned as he explained how he prepares his students. Eddy feels that, “the best preparation for the AP exam is learning the material well, and it is more than just memorizing but trying to understand why things happen so you can think your way to the answer.” According to Eddy, a student should take AP Physics, “who is stronger and more interested in physics than your average student.” Eddy loves teaching the AP Physics class at Morgan, however, “in an ideal world, an AP Physics course should be the second year physics course so you aren’t trying to learn basic concepts and extend them really fast.” Eddy feels ambivalent about AP courses and he feels that they are not an actual substitute for college courses.
AP Spanish Teacher Mrs. Laura Luther teaches AP Spanish. According to The Morgan School Program of Studies AP Spanish 5, “Stresses composition and cultural readings. It is designed to further familiarize students with the great authors of Hispanic literature; to give the students a sense of history and the evolution of the arts; and to continue their progress in the other language skills by means of study, discussion,
and analysis of literary works.” Mrs. Luther explained that her students prepare for the AP exam by practicing the listening and speaking sections of the exam the first semester and practicing the speaking, listening, reading, and writing sections the second semester. Mrs. Luther feels the most important piece of preparation are, “The essay responses because there are two essay sections. The first one you have to read and then respond in essay form. The second one you choose something from American culture and another from Spanish culture and compare and contrast.” Any student who is “motivated, someone who speaks Spanish, and someone who has an interest in speaking Spanish” should definitely take AP Spanish 5 according to Mrs. Luther.
Ms. Diana Rizzo, Social Studies Teacher at Morgan, teaches AP United States History. Unfortunately, not enough students signed up for the course so it will not be offered next year at Morgan. Please read AP United States History Fades Out of the History Curriculum for an overview of the class.
Along with the AP courses, Morgan also offers two UConn Early College Experience classes: UConn English and UConn Probability and Statistics. Ms. Michele Wickam teaches UConn English and Mr. Brian Brown teaches UConn Probability and Statistics.
Next academic year, Morgan will be offering two more AP classes: AP Environmental Science and AP U.S. Government and Politics. The Morgan School Program of Studies has a complete list of courses offered to students at Morgan. All students should take advantage of the wonderful courses offered at Morgan and experience an AP class.