Beaufort and May River high schools will among only a few South Carolina schools approved to implement an innovative Advanced Placement program that helps students to develop skills valued by colleges and employers.
Beaufort and May River will begin offering AP Capstone for the 2018-19 school year; Bluffton High began offering the special diploma program this school year.
“No other South Carolina district has three high schools offering AP Capstone,” said Superintendent Jeff Moss, “and that speaks well of our district’s efforts to raise the bar academically – not only for students, but also for educators.”
AP Capstone allows students to develop their research, collaboration and communication skills by taking two Advanced Placement courses in sequence: AP Seminar and AP Research. AP Capstone is coordinated by the College Board, the nonprofit organization that manages SAT college entrance exams as well as Advanced Placement exams that allow students to earn college credits while still in high school.
Beginning next August, Beaufort and May River students who choose the AP Capstone track will take the two courses one after the other, starting with AP Seminar. This course is usually taken in 10th or 11th grade and can vary in subject matter, which teachers choose in collaboration with students. Students use different materials, such as research studies and philosophical texts, to answer complex questions, evaluate different viewpoints and interpret information.
Capstone students will take AP Research the following year, during which they will plan and conduct a yearlong research-based investigation on a topic. Students will describe the process of choosing a topic, collecting information, analyzing that information and presenting and defending their arguments through portfolios.
To earn an AP Capstone Diploma, students must successfully complete both AP Research and AP Seminar courses that focus on independent research, collaboration and communication in small and large groups and presentation settings. In addition, students must earn scores of 3 or higher on AP’s five-point scale in both courses, as well as four other AP courses.
Only 16 South Carolina high schools currently offer the AP Capstone program, including Bluffton High and Hilton Head Preparatory School.