Add Section of AP Biology to Support The Demand for 2017-18 Sophomore Class
Excerpt from HHS Program of Studies Guide
“I encourage you to take full advantage of the opportunities offered at Hopkinton High School and to select the most challenging academic program you possibly can. Further, to ensure that every possible door remains open to you upon graduation; I encourage you to pursue a quality program and to take academic risks by selecting some subjects with which you are not familiar.”
This Spring, when 9th Grade students were offed a chance to register for 2017-18 curriculum, over 120 heeded the Principal’s advice and registered for a challenging and risk-filled curriculum which including AP Biology. Unbeknownst to these students when they registered, the capacity to accept all qualified students was fixed at 96 seats. In fact, this AP Biology capacity has been fixed at 96 seats for 5 years (despite incredible growth in bio-science jobs in New England).
To fill these seats, teachers in the loosely related courses of Chemistry and Physics were asked to select the top grade earners (in the fall semester). Whilst this might seem reasonable at first glance, the Natural Sciences of Chemistry, Physics and Biology are no more related than the social sciences of Economics, Sociology, and Psychology. That is, no prospective Psychology student would be selected based on their performance in Economics, and vice versa. Yet, 96% of all available seats for AP Biology were populated by a student’s performance in one half semesters of either Chemistry or Physics. Talk about sealing a child’s future with limited data…
Massachusetts is home to huge and rapidly growing Life Science community. In fact, one might argue that investment on one’s local public education system is most likely to make the highest returns on the investment in this area. From the academic medical centers in Boston and Worcester to the biotech giants like Genzyme, Biogen, Celgene and Shire, to medical device industry of J&J, Boston Scientific, Hologic, and Medtronic, this is where many of Hopkinton’s best and brightest will someday make a living…. have families in Hopkinton and support the needs of public education in the future.
This is an academic area in which we should be overinvesting in, rather than rationing. When a bright 9th grade student ponders the most challenging curriculum for their sophomore year, AP Biology is the only STEM class that matters. Whether pursue a future as a biologist, pharmacist, biotechnologist, or, medical doctor, researcher, pharmaceutical engineer, or something unrelated, AP Biology is a class that launches them into a future of curiosity, discovery, and benefits to humanity. When we ration access to a course that they desire, and for which their parents feel they are ready, we squash dreams, we encourage mediocrity, and we squander the medical and scientific discoveries this cohort might have brought us.
This petition seeks your support for adding a section of AP Biology for the school year 2017-18 to support dreams, to support achievement, and to fulfill the most promising jobs of our society’s future.