Washougal, WA — Washougal High School is introducing a new Advanced Placement (AP) course titled Computer Science Principles this year, bringing the total number of AP courses to 13. AP courses offer a rigorous, collegiate level curriculum that prepares students to succeed in college and other educational and training programs after graduation.
The Computer Science Principles course will feature volunteer instructors through the Microsoft Philanthropies TEALS program, bringing subject matter experience and opportunities for students to learn alongside industry professionals. In addition to computer science, students at WHS can take AP courses in subjects like art, calculus, biology, chemistry, English, music theory, physics, psychology, Spanish, and history. Students who complete the course can register for the AP exam in May, and students who perform well on the exam can earn college credit, providing an opportunity to skip introductory coursework when they enroll in college.
“We are excited about adding a new AP course subject for the 2019-20 school year,” said Aaron Hansen, WSD Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources and Student Services. “Last spring we were intentional with our message to students that we wanted all of our students to challenge themselves academically. Our AP enrollment reflects the good work our counselors did as we have many more students enrolled in AP courses this coming school year.”
According to Hansen, students who take AP courses learn valuable college-level study skills that will benefit them in all their high school classes and beyond. One of the benefits of taking an AP class is the exposure to the level of thinking, rigor and academics that Washougal students will experience in college, not to mention earning college level credit. “We are planning to continue to add more AP offerings at WHS as well as continuing to encourage all students to stretch themselves,” he said. “The work our students are doing now is preparing them to compete in the global economy and be able to effectively participate in a rapidly changing world.”
“Some families or students may believe that AP offerings are only available to students who ‘already get it’ or who already have all of the skill sets necessary to be successful in an AP course,” said Sheree Clark, WHS Principal. “This in fact is not the case at all. While our AP courses are rigorous, there is a high level of support within a small classroom setting that will coach and teach our students the skills necessary to be successful in these programs.”
Additionally, Clark points out that some believe AP courses are only for students on a 4-year college track. “While having AP courses on a students’ transcript for 4-year colleges can significantly increase a student’s chance for acceptance, these courses also provide essential 21st Century Skills needed for other post-secondary programs including apprenticeships, vocational programs and other career focused programs,” she said. “Many of these post-secondary programs and careers are seeking out candidates who are willing to take risks, work hard and challenge themselves.”
WHS students can also earn college credit while studying at WHS by taking College in the High School coursework in pre-Calculus, Calculus, and Spanish through a partnership with Central Washington University, and many additional courses through Dual Credit courses with Clark College and Mt. Hood Community College.
Helping students be prepared and be able to contribute to their community through career and college opportunities is a pillar of the new WSD Strategic Plan. These AP options prepare students academically to succeed in college and build job readiness skills to expand career opportunities. Students and families interested in learning more about Advanced Placement, Dual Credit, or College in the Classroom coursework can contact their school counselor. More information can also be found at http://www.washougal.k12.wa.us/whs/dual-credit-classes/
“At Washougal High School we believe that students should have every opportunity and access to rigorous courses, we want to see more of our students challenge and stretch their thinking beyond what is easy; if you take on the challenge, we will provide the high level of support,” Clark said.