Providing a new learning opportunity

Killough offers all-year AP world history class combined with English


Michelle Ramos

AP world history teacher Elizabeth Gonzalez talks about the short answer question (SAQ) on Wednesday, Sept. 18 during fourth period.

Killough began offering an all-year Advanced Placement (AP) world history course paired with English for the first time this school year. Students enrolled in this class attend AP world history every other day and pre-AP English on the days in between. They also have one day a week where 45 minutes are dedicated to history and the other 45 to English. Although this is new for Killough, Harmon has had this option available for three years.

This is the first time Killough has combined two core classes. The teachers’ main goal is to ensure students will have more time to practice on work they couldn’t cover in one semester. Because students have more practice and study time, their scores are expected to improve.

“[It’s combined with ELA] because so much of the exam is writing and I think that’s where our students have been struggling,” AP world history teacher Elizabeth Gonzalez said. “So if Mr. Roper can teach you how to write the essays [and] how to edit your essays, I think that’s where real student growth comes from. [It’s] being able to learn from your mistakes and we haven’t had that opportunity.”

The change has brought an opening toward students’ critical thinking and learning. Though taking an AP course can be stressful, having two semesters instead of one to learn the material has taken some pressure off of students.

“I think you can also feel the mood is different from a regular world history class,” Gonzalez said. “Students take [it] more seriously and it’s honestly more fun to teach a group of students who are really curious about the topic.”

I think [the class is] interesting, and for me personally, the content is so much easier to remember than it was when I took AP human [geography].”

— sophomore Gabrielle Rabon

Teachers and students have looked at this change from multiple perspectives; the majority of students enjoy having extra time to do their work and understand the concepts while other students believe they do not need all year to achieve a high score on the AP exam. Teachers do their best to create enjoyable class environments for students to learn. 

“I think [the class is] interesting, and for me personally, the content is so much easier to remember than it was when I took AP human [geography],” sophomore Gabrielle Rabon said. “There’s less pressure and the teachers make it fun.”

Although this is an all-year class, it doesn’t mean students can slack off. It’s a class where students will not only improve their learning skills to succeed on the AP exam but will also improve study skills for future classes in high school and college. The teachers are already thinking of plans regarding the future of the course, where they can have more teachers teaching this course in order to get a larger amount of students in the AP program.

“I expect and hope this class will be very beneficial to students and myself for learning,” English teacher Steven Roper said. “[My motivation is to] hopefully expand the program.”