The Huntington Beach Union High School District (HBUHSD) is proud to announce the addition of the College Board’s Advanced Placement (AP) Capstone diploma program for the 2016-2017 school year at two sites — Marina High School (MHS) and Westminster High School (WHS).  The College Board explains AP Capstone as “an innovative diploma program that provides students with an opportunity to engage in rigorous scholarly practice of the core academic skills necessary for successful college completion.”

“We are very excited to be adding the AP Capstone to our course offerings for students,” Owen Crosby, Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services said. “AP Capstone adds to our already rich and rigorous AP program and provides our students with additional opportunities to develop the skills necessary for post-secondary success.”

In order to participate in AP Capstone, both Marina and Westminster had to partake in an application process that displayed how the program currently aligned with practices in place on their campuses. For the 2015-16 school year, Marina offered 22 AP courses and Westminster offered 18. Both campuses feature classes such as AP Physics, AP Economics, AP French, and much more.

The AP Capstone program brings a new twist to the traditional practice of AP courses — adding the components of AP Seminar and AP Research. In the year-long AP Seminar course, students will learn to observe issues from multiple perspectives in order to develop, convey, and contend evidence-based information. Students will then take these skills gained and participate in a team and individual project, presentation, and written exam.

After completing AP Seminar, students are able to move on to take AP Research — a course where they will greater develop their skills to conduct independent research in order to produce and defend a scholarly academic thesis. Throughout this year-long course, students will be mentored in their research-based investigation in order to cultivate an academic thesis paper approximately 5,000 words long with an associated oral presentation.

With rigor similar to that of a Master’s program at the university level, many post-secondary schools have expressed the great distinction participating in this program will add to a student’s college application.

“Within AP Capstone, the seminar course is innovative for its flexibility and the research program has a similar focus on flexibility and innovation that we find attractive,” said Ken O’Donnell, Senior Director of Student Engagement for the California State University (CSU) system.

Upon high school graduation, if students have fulfilled the requirements of AP Seminar, AP Research, and four AP courses of their choice, they will be awarded their AP Capstone Diploma in addition to their regular diploma.

Dr. Jessie Marion, Principal of Marina High School stated, “We truly believe that any student who chooses to take one or both of the AP Capstone classes will be more prepared for college, and even for the careers they choose after high school.”

The addition of the AP Capstone program for the 2016-2017 school year helps the district in its continuous pursuit of reaching Strategic Plan goals such as, “Increase student access to the most challenging, impactful, and relevant curriculum,” and, “Build relevance and rigor across the curriculum to prepare students for success in a constantly changing environment.”

Students that are interested in learning more about AP Capstone are encouraged to talk to their counselor and learn more from the AP Capstone website.