Language arts teacher Abby Pavell has taught AP/IB English Literature and Composition for eight years. However, next year she will be teaching all standard-level English classes.
This change in classes is due to a new policy that was introduced last year, but will most noticeably take effect next school year. Teachers will now be limited to teaching AP/IB classes only five years in a row.
According to principal Kip Greenhill, the main goal of the new program is to broaden the quality of the high school’s teaching staff as a whole. The idea is that AP/IB classes enhance not only a student’s learning, but also the ability of those teaching them.
“I want to give the other teachers the opportunity to teach AP and IB classes,” Greenhill said. “[These classes] challenge teachers and require training. It will make teachers better and make the staff better as a whole.”
Greenhill also states that the shift from normally AP/IB teachers down to regular classes might better prepare those students to eventually take higher-level courses.
“I wanted to have teachers who’ve taught AP for a long time to teach [freshman- and sophomore-level] classes so they can be better prepared to take AP classes in the future,” Greenhill said. “This is a fairly common practice [for high schools], and there is no dropout in [AP] test scores. In the long run, it’s going to help students.”
The policy, while intended to aid both students and teachers, has caused some apprehension for both parties. Several teachers passed on interviews in light of controversy over the issue.
Pavell said she understands the worries of both students and the faculty as a whole. However, she also recognizes the justification behind the new policy.
“I do think, in the long run, that [the new policy] will help,” Pavell said. “By moving back and teaching lower-level classes, teachers who have normally taught AP/IB classes can help students work from a lower-level course up to the higher-level courses, preparing them along the way.”
Junior David Mehrle, an AP and IB student, said he is concerned about whether or not new AP/IB teachers will have the experience necessary to teach the classes.
“I’m worried about some teachers who might not be the most qualified to teach certain classes,” Mehrle said. “[The policy] could be OK as long as it doesn’t negatively affect the students.”
Mehrle also showed apprehension as to how new teachers will be able to learn the necessary material for AP/IB classes.
“[The new policy] might be good for professional development of the teachers, or if the teachers are tired of teaching a certain subject,” Mehrle said. “But I think that if they are training while they are teaching, it would be difficult.”
While there has been an overall feeling of apprehension surrounding the new policy, Pavell said she is holding back her doubts. She said she is excited to see how the new policy will affect the teachers and future student performance.
“Change is scary,” Pavell said. “I have been teaching now for 12 years, and I would say I have a good 20 years more. It would be presumptuous to assume that I would be teaching AP classes the whole time.”
Though Pavell will miss the AP curriculum, she said she looks forward to the change.
“I will miss the class, the students and the curriculum,” she said, “but I am also excited to see what will come next.”