Edison’s Newest Advanced Placement Classes: Seminar and Research


AP Capstone is a two-year course consisting of the AP Research and AP Seminar classes and is currently being introduced to Edison Public Schools.

The first year of this two-year course, AP Seminar, is currently being offered to incoming juniors as an option for the year 2020-2021. Participating juniors  will then continue on to the second year of this course, AP Research, in their senior year.

AP Seminar will help students develop skills in collaboration, research, and presenting. Students will research several areas, write a research essay, and make and give presentations both individually and with their peers. Students read and analyze articles, studies, and other texts while gathering and connecting information from other sources. 

By the end of the AP Seminar course, students submit all of their final AP Seminar performance tasks. These students also take the AP Seminar Exam to test their knowledge on the subject. Both of these will measure their proficiency in the course’s skills on a scale from 1 to 5. Students must receive a score of 3 or higher to be eligible to partake in AP Research the following year.

AP Research will mimic these skills and have a more independent form of study. Students here will perform research throughout the year on a topic of their own choosing for a research question and will submit their findings to the CollegeBoard AP Research Performance Task.

Edison High School teachers Mrs. Smith and Mr. Napoli will teach this course in the upcoming school year and are currently in the process of making assignments and developing the curriculum for this course. They will also be attending a one-week training session in August, which is required for teachers who intend on teaching Advanced Placement classes.

Mr. Napoli said that he looks forward to seeing the students’ different interests and passions through their research projects. He looks forward to learning more about the students at Edison High School and more about their selected topics. He also hopes that students can take the knowledge learned through the AP Capstone course and apply it to make a difference in the world. 

Prior to implementing this course in Edison School District, teachers from Edison High School and John P. Stevens went to Hunterdon Central High School in Flemington, NJ and observed the AP Seminar and Research classes in play. After their observations, the teachers thought about how the class would impact Edison High School and whether it should be implemented or not. 

Mrs. Stutzman, a teacher at Hunterton Central High School, believes this type of AP class is ideal for upperclassmen: “These classes are how education should be. They allow you to blend disciplines and perspectives within those disciplines. They allow you to study things that you want to study. And you can never sit back and just expect that someone else will do the thinking for you. The classes are challenging and rewarding.” Her advice to teachers is to enjoy the moments when a student learns, and to seek help since it is hard to implement a class for the first time.

All in all, the AP Seminar and AP Capstone teachers feel that the classes would benefit the student population at Edison High School, providing them with new opportunities to learn and grow.