New School Year, New Class Offerings

With the new course description book newly released for the 2015-2016 school year, students have whole new classes and options for them to take advantage of. Here are some of them.


Art by Jia Lin Mei

With the new course description book newly released for the 2015-2016 school year, students have whole new classes and options for them to take advantage of. Between more advanced levels of Digital Imaging and Journalism, the return of Honors Psychology, and new additions like AP Human Geography and Computer Science, there might be something different for every Jones student for 2015-16.

Andrew Walker ‘16 is one of the many students who is looking forward to the new additions to the curriculum. He said, “I’m glad they’re adding some new classes because I was getting bored with what they have now.”

Walker also mentioned that he had never had the opportunity to take computer science before. He said, “It’s something that I’ve always been interested in but I never really had the chance to take it. It’s great that they’re adding more science related classes.”

Below are the new offerings for the 2015-16 school year.

AP Capstone Diploma Program            

“…an innovative new diploma program that gives students an opportunity to apply critical thinking, collaborative problem-solving, and research skills in a cross-curricular context.” –  2015-2016 Jones course description handbook

A program developed by the College Board in collaboration with organizations like the Association of American Colleges and Universities, AP Capstone (capstone meaning your crown achievement) is a program consisting of two year-long courses, AP Seminar and AP Research, typically taken during junior and senior year. AP Seminar focuses on viewing and reading articles, philosophical texts, speeches, and broadcasts on real-world issues. Students learn to defend their arguments while also applying their own experiences. In the following year, they will uncover their own topic in AP Research and learn how to ethically research to compile an academic thesis paper consisting of 5,000 words. Both classes will be weighted on a typical AP scale (6.0 points) and are accompanied with their own AP exams.

Being enrolled is not set in stone. With an English II credit, current and future sophomores who plan to sign up can take AP Seminar junior year and leave the program the following year if desired. Thus, current juniors may sign up for AP Seminar before graduating. However, those who choose this route will be unable to receive the diploma, which requires completion of AP Seminar and Research, that goes with the program. Additionally, the diploma requires students to take up to 6 AP courses by the end of the program and to get 3’s or more on the AP exams. Most students won’t have a problem with this, according to Vice Principal Carolyn Rownd, as they take plenty of AP’s.

AP Human Geography

AP Human Geography focuses on how humans have shaped and interacted with the physical environment, creating organizational systems, patterns, as well as environmental consequences. Typically offered as a year-long freshmen course in most high schools, this will allow incoming freshmen to begin their high school career with an AP class rather than in sophomore year with AP US History, but they must receive permission from the principal first. All other students can still sign up.

Honors Forensics and Honors Astronomy

Honors Forensics and Astronomy are courses added in after much push from students. The Forensics course will focus on the American system of justice and examining, evaluating, and interpretation evidence. Students are also to apply technology and communication skills in laboratory work while also applying elements of social science like families and consumers. Honors Astronomy focuses on the historical study on the advance of understanding of the universe around us, while later learning about astronomical concepts.

Computer Science

While not directly part of the Science Department, this year-long course was also added in because of student push. The course will be divided into 6 units: Human Computer Interaction, Problem Solving, Web Design, Programming, Computing and Data Analysis, and Robotics. It’s goal is not to solely focus on learning software tools, but also the basic concepts and ideas of computing to enable flexibility in solving problems.

Honors Psychology/ Honors Sociology

Honors Psychology and Honors Sociology are now intertwined together into a one year-long course, with the first semester for Psychology and the second for Sociology. With an emphasis on urban studies and social justice along with a culminating project, the class is meant to be “…a great opportunity for students who excel in learning through a creative project-based classroom environment,” according to the course description book. Students who decide to take this class cannot take AP Psychology later on. Additionally, current AP Psychology students cannot take this course next year.

Digital Imagining III

The new addition to the Digital Imagining courses seeks to advance skills with technical gear in professional settings, but students will also tier their work for the public eye. Using guidelines from film festivals, they will produce and enter videos in competitions.

Journalism II-III

Journalism has expanded to include two more levels. For those who have successfully completed Journalism I, students in the new upper-level classes focus entirely on writing, reporting, photographing and video for the Blueprint newspaper online and in an upcoming new print format.

More information can be found on the 2015-2016 course description handbook online at the Jones College Prep website under the “Students” tab.