De Soto USD 232 to offer more AP classes
Juniors and seniors in De Soto USD 232 will have more academic options come next fall.
The district approved a four-year plan to phase in additional advanced placement courses at De Soto and Mill Valley High schools.
Currently, DHS has five AP courses, offering U.S. history, U.S. government, biology and studio art in 2D and 3D. MVHS offers the two history courses. On average, other districts in Johnson County offer 15 AP courses, USD 232 officials said.
Cindy Fouraker, coordinator of grants and programs, said the De Soto district’s students would greatly benefit for additional courses.
In the fall, students can take AP language and composition, literature and composition, music theory and statistics. Students at MVHS will also be able to take both studio art classes.
The new AP courses will replace existing honor’s courses offered at both high schools, Fouraker said.
“It’s a four-year plan. As we go through each year, we’ll evaluate how many more we add and how teacher training is,” she said.
Students taking the AP courses will receive more than learning the subject matter, Fouraker said.
“Any student who has taken an AP course and been successful is much more ready for college and the rigor of courses.”
Students don’t have to pay extra for any of the AP courses, however, to receive college credit a student must pass an AP exam. Students are responsible for the cost of the exam, Fouraker said.
Another goal of the program expansion is getting teachers qualified to teach the courses for the College-Now program. Requirements vary for each subject, Fouraker said. For example, a teacher must have a master’s degree to teach College-Now history.
Students earn the College-Now credits through Johnson County Community College.
“It gives students a different opportunity for earning college credit,” she said. “The credit through College-Now isn’t as widely accepted as AP credit, but most of the in-state schools typically accept it. It’s much cheaper through Johnson County Community College.”
While students can take part in both AP and College-Now, students must pay tuition to Johnson County Community College for College-Now courses.
“It’s pretty reasonable. If you’re a parent looking at the fact that your child gets college credit and high school credit at the same time, it’s economical,” she said.
The district put its first-year costs for the AP expansion at roughly $61,000. The second year, the expected expenditures drop by nearly half the cost.
The initial costs includes a weeklong teacher training course, plus plus textbooks, Fouraker said. The district will also conduct a workshop for teachers to institute strategies to prepare freshman, sophomore and juniors for the rigors of AP courses.
The district applied for $15,000 through the Kansas Department of Education’s AP Incentive Grant. The grant, if awarded, is renewable for a second year.
“It’s going to be a great opportunity for the students,” Fouraker said. “Teachers are excited to be able to teach the classes. It’s something the students have been asking for. They want to challenge themselves. They want to be prepared to go to college. It gives them an opportunity to earn college credit in high school and be at an academic level that prepares them to be successful at a college level.”
BREAK OUT BOX:
Here’s a list of the advanced placement courses that will be available at De Soto High School and Mill Valley High School in the coming years:
DHS: AP Language & Composition, AP Literature & Composition, AP Music Theory, AP Statistics
MVHS: AP Language & Composition, AP Literature & Composition, AP Music Theory, AP Statistics, AP Studio Art
Pre-AP: Interdisciplinary strategies for English & Social Studies
DHS: AP Chemistry, AP Psychology
MVHS: AP Chemistry, AP Psychology, AP Biology
Pre-AP: Vertical teams in science
DHS: AP Physics, AP Calculus AB
MVHS: AP Physics, AP Calculus AB
Pre-AP: Vertical teams in math
Determine the need for additional course at all levels