Capturing AP Capstone

The new class hopes to help Jones students succeed in college and beyond


AP Seminar students peer reviewing their in-class essays. Courtesy of Aggie Laboe

Researching, writing, and comfy library chairs- these are all core components of AP Capstone, a new class this school year at Jones.

AP Capstone is built on the foundation of two AP courses; AP Seminar and AP Research. AP Seminar began this year at Jones, while AP Research will begin next school year.

AP Seminar allows sophomores, juniors and seniors to explore a multitude of academic and real-world topics. This year, students are learning about different types of networks. AP Seminar students just finished a unit about social networks, currently they are studying cities as networks, specifically how different parts of cities are connected.

Students develop important collegiate-level skills such as analyzing text from multiple perspectives and constructing evidence-based arguments. Homework is usually reading and analyzing articles, while class time is used for discussion. Sophomores and juniors who complete AP Seminar will then take AP Research the following school year, where they will conduct a year long independent study.

“We added AP Seminar to give some of our highest performing students another outlet to explore, to help prepare them for college and to give them another thing on their transcript for college”, says AP Capstone teacher Brady Gunnink.

AP Capstone has only existed for two years, which has led to several challenges for Gunnink and other AP Capstone teacher Ryan Maggid.

“When we think about giving students practice tests and sample essays, it is difficult because there is only one that exists previously, and that is last year’s test,” says Maggid.  “Another challenge is creating a class that doesn’t really have any content, it has skills built into it, but there is really no specific content we have to teach.”

So far students feel challenged and stressed by AP Seminar. “The in-class essays are really hard and stressful, but I enjoy the group discussions”, said Miranda Matern ‘17.

“It is difficult for me, and time consuming. And on top of my other classes, it adds a lot of stress, but that’s to be expected,” said Aggie Laboe ‘17.

Wondering if AP Capstone is for you?

“If you can do well in this class, you will win in college. If you have something you are interested in this is your chance to deepen your understanding of it, and shape what you want to say about it,” said Gunnink.

“ Students should take it if they are interested in really developing their college level and graduate level reading and research skills. They should take it they want to become lawyers, or doctors or if they want to do research,”  said Maggid.