Eastside Catholic Approved for AP Capstone Diploma Program

We were recently approved by College Board’s Advanced Placement Program to implement Advanced Placement Capstone for the 2019-20 school year. AP Capstone is a diploma program from the College Board and is based on two, yearlong AP courses: AP Seminar and AP Research.

Eastside Catholic joins approximately 1,500 schools in the United States that are approved for the AP Capstone course. As of the 2018-19 school year, only 41 schools in Washington state have been approved to offer this course.

In AP Seminar, students investigate real-world issues from multiple perspectives, gathering and analyzing information from various sources in order to develop credible and valid evidence-based arguments. In AP Research, students cultivate the skills and discipline necessary to conduct independent research and inquiry in order to produce and defend their scholarly work, according to College Board.

“The AP Capstone program offers a unique opportunity for students to engage in the most accurate simulation of a college course,” Director of Curriculum and Instruction Ryan Aiello said. “AP Seminar and AP Research are courses rooted in inquiry and innovation that help prepare students for the rigors of college and the responsibilities of citizenship.”

Rather than teaching subject-specific content, these courses develop students’ skills in research, analysis, evidence-based arguments, collaboration, writing and presenting. The College Board developed the AP Capstone diploma program at the request of higher education professionals who desired a systematic way for high school students to begin mastering these skills before college. Students who complete the two-year program can earn one of two different AP Capstone awards, which are valued by colleges across the United States and around the world.

Mr. Aiello implemented an Advanced Research Topics course this year which resembled the AP Capstone program with two seniors, Woodinville resident Elizabeth Brummer and Sammamish resident Renée DePencier Piñero. Elizabeth and Renée proposed the class during their junior year because they desired a class that could provide college-like rigor, address individual student passions and be offered for years to come. The students used the course to further their research in environmental science and sustainability.

“After taking AP Environmental Science together last year, we both realized that we wanted to go further, dig deeper into this area of science,” Elizabeth Brummer said. “This class forces us to go beyond the traditional classroom lab setting by solving real world problems. We hoped to cultivate an atmosphere of questioning and exploration.”

With Elizabeth and Renée laying the groundwork for the AP Capstone program, they hope that the class will flourish for future students after they graduate.

“The end goal of [our Advanced Research Topics] class is to establish a college level research class at Eastside,” Renée DePencier Piñero said. “We want this class to be an opportunity for students to find what motivates them, find what they are passionate about and explore further in that area of interest.”