This article was in the Times about Roosevelt's move to have all sophomores taking the same AP class. I'm writing on it because the article wasn't as clear as it should have been and because it perhaps may be the wave of the future (if it works) for other high schools.
Roosevelt's Social Studies/LA are blocked together. However, the curriculum did not align and there was wide variation in what was presented. In an effort to align the curriculum throughout the sophomore class and present more rigor, it was decided to have AP Human Geography and LA. Here is the description of AP Human Geography from the College Board:
"The purpose is to introduce students to the systematic study of patterns and processes that have shaped human understanding, use and alteration of the Earth's surface. Students employ spatial concepts and landscape analysis to examine human social organization and its environmental consequences. They also learn about the tools and methods that geographers use in their science and practice."
When I first heard of this idea I read about what this course is about and thought it had a real interdisciplinary aspect to it. It was not just one subject but many rolled together. With more concern about environmental issues, I thought this was a subject that would speak to many students.
My concern was for students who were not used to pushing themselves. I asked that there would be supports in place to help any student who needed it.
Some parents, for different reasons, objected. Some were concerned that AP European History would go away (it is the only AP offering for sophomores and 40% of them take it). AP European History won't go away but it won't be offered at the sophomore level. Some were concerned about the pace. But that has died down and the administration and staff made the decision to move forward.
What did change was that students who wanted to move at a faster pace could take it in a semester (it is designed to be a semester class so making it a year class allows students to take it at a more leisurely pace). Other students could take it over a year. But all the students would be on the same page (so to speak) on the curriculum and rigor offered. No student has to take the AP test for it.
Of course, it's something of an experiment. Any change is. But I believe if we are serious about equity and rigor, it's a good start and I believe other high schools will be watching with interest.