AP Capstone is a new class that came to Kennedy last fall and will continue next year.
Currently, the course is offered in 334 high schools across the county and even at a few schools internationally. Kennedy is the only school in Iowa that offers the class.
This year there were 18 students. Dr. Michael Ayers is currently the instructor.
“AP Capstone is meant to get students prepared to do high-level research work that other high school classes cant because there is too much other content to that they’re trying to teach,” Ayers said.
AP Capstone consists of two courses, AP Seminar and AP Research. Each course takes students a full school year to complete. The courses are mostly about research, critical thinking, and how to communicate thinking. It is a new diploma program, which means that a student completed certain set of requirements to earn an advanced diploma.
Next year, Ayers is leaving the Cedar Rapids district and he will teach at Iowa City High. The course continues at Kennedy, however. Teachers Sean Neilly will lead the seminar and Dana Melone will teach the research component.
“The main thing that separates it [as an AP seminar] is that students get to choose what their topics are with a lot of leeway so there is a lot of opportunity for students to see their research skills applicable to things that they’re interested in,” Ayers said.