District Considers Adding AP Language Course

Mindy Luo, Visual Media Editor

AP Language and Composition may be a course offering in 2020-21 school year.  Should the school board approve it, students in the Acalanes Union High School District would have yet another Advance Placement course option.

At the moment, the idea of adding the AP Language course is being discussed by both district-level and school-site administrators as well as English Department teachers.  Considerations include whether the course would replace Honors English or simply be added as an additional offering.

English 3 Honors teacher Jake Donohoe submitted the course proposal to the district earlier this fall. Should she be the one to teach it at Campolindo, it would be her 1st experience delivering AP content. She said the inspiration for submitting the course proposal came from her time as a student teacher at Berkeley High, where she observed the AP Language course in action.

According to Donohoe, AP Language will help students understand techniques of argumentative writing. “Instead of really focusing on literary elements like symbols and themes, you’re looking at the manner in which an author uses specific words or phrases to convey and convince an idea, so it dovetails really nicely actually, with AP US history, which I think just sort of a historical version of that,” said Donohoe.

AP English Literature teacher Dan Doyle, a veteran of the English Department, believes the new class would essentially serve as a replacement for the junior year Honors English class. But, its course structure is different. “The language class is going to be primarily nonfiction and Honors [English] is pretty much fiction,” said Doyle.

“I think that if you actively enjoy reading and talking about the craft of writing and and what you like and don’t like about it, and how well it’s written, this would be a great course for you. I also think if you’re somebody that enjoys the nonfiction writing in your history classes and maybe don’t love literature as much, this might be a nice course for you,” said Donohoe.

“My sense is that it will be slightly quicker pace than English 3 Honors because we’re focusing on AP skills, like preparing for the exam,” said Donohoe.

According to Doyle, the AP Language course proposal is part of the larger effort to introduce 25 new classes across the district in the 2020 school year.

While the exact details about the course have yet to be presented to students, there are some who are already expressing an interest. “It’s going to become a lot more competitive and perhaps more creatively challenging than before, but I think it’s going to be a very exciting opportunity,” said sophomore Oliver Axelrod, who hopes to be able to add the course to his junior-year schedule.