Pasco County Schools Celebrates AP Capstone Diploma Recipients

This post was published on 10/22/2019.

Land O’ Lakes, FL (October 21, 2019) – Pasco County Schools announces that 32 students earned the Advanced Placement® (AP®) Capstone Diploma and six students earned the AP Seminar and Research Certificatelast school year.

“We are proud to recognize the outstanding achievements of students who participated in the AP Capstone Diploma™ program, and we continue to look forward to providing students with opportunities to explore their passions while building college-level academic and collaboration skills,” said Vanessa Hilton, chief academic officer for Pasco County Schools.

The AP Capstone Diploma program develops students’ critical thinking, research, and presentation skills, both individually and as a team. Students conduct academic research on topics of personal interest in two interdisciplinary courses, AP Seminar and AP Research.

To receive the AP Capstone Diploma, students must earn scores of 3 or higher in AP Seminar, AP Research, and four additional AP Exams. To receive the AP Seminar and Research CertificateTM, students must earn scores of 3 or higher in AP Seminar and AP Research. More than 1,500 schools participated in the AP Capstone program worldwide during the 2018-19 school year when approximately 7,800 students earned the AP Capstone Diploma and 4,100 students earned the AP Seminar and Research Certificate.

The Pasco students focused their research on a range of topics, including the extent to which phthalates used in U.S. food packaging harm human health, whether brine deposits from desalination plants trap excess CO 2 in oceans and reduce the effects of ocean acidification, and how the utilization of hexagonal house structures made of hempcrete can create a more cost effective, durable home.

“Congratulations to the AP Capstone award winners, who conduct, present, and defend academic research on topics they are passionate about,” said Trevor Packer, College Board senior vice president of AP and Instruction. “Their ability to manage long-term projects, collaborate with teams, and deliver effective presentations will accelerate not only their academic careers but their professional careers as well.”

Of the Pasco County Schools students who participated in the AP Capstone Diploma program:

  • The number of AP Capstone Diplomas (32) increased from 20 in the 2017-18 school year.
  • 6 students were awarded the AP Seminar and Research Certificate by earning scores of 3 or higher in AP Seminar and AP Research.
  • 32 students graduated with the class of 2019.

More than 5,600 Pasco students currently are enrolled in at least one AP course and 347 of those students are taking either AP Seminar or AP Research. Since its introduction at James W. Mitchell High School in the 2015-16 school year, the program has expanded to Wesley Chapel High School (2016-17), River Ridge High School, Sunlake High School, and Wiregrass Ranch High School (2018-19).

The College Board Advanced Placement Program gives students the opportunity to take challenging college-level courses while still in high school. A 3 or higher on an AP Exam has multiple benefits for students, including earning college credit, advanced placement, or both for successful performance on AP Exams, saving them time and money. Research shows AP students are better prepared for and more likely to enroll and remain in college, do well in classes, and earn their degrees on time. Each exam is developed by a committee of college and university faculty and AP teachers, ensuring that AP Exams align their high standards.

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