Six advanced placement (AP) classes are cut from Stamford High’s new plan for scheduling next year.
On Monday, March 15, Stamford High opened the powerschool portal for class scheduling. This was the first time that students were able to enter the courses that they wanted to study virtually. Students are also be able to organize their schedule how they’d like to, choosing the classes that they would like to take from a list. This is supposed to lead to an ideal scheduling process for students. Classes are available for viewing at the Program of Studies of Stamford Public Schools for 2021-2022.
As in past years, students can choose from an array of College Preparatory classes, Honors classes, AP classes, IB classes, and ECE classes. These classes all range in difficulty, material, and teaching style.
Although this seems like a convenient change, parents seem to be angered by another change that came with it: Stamford High has decided to cut six popular AP classes. The following chart was sent out in an email to students and parents:
Instead of this…
ECE or IB Biology
ECE or IB Chemistry
AP Chemistry *
ECE English 12
AP Eng Literature 12*
ECE or IB US History
AP US History*
AP Span Lang & Cult
Many parents and students seem to be concerned with these changes. In a Facebook post, SHS parent Scott Stone said, “Our kids are being denied the opportunity to challenge themselves. Many of them had plans to take these AP classes for enrichment and distinguish themselves when applying to college.” Stone said the decision “creates quite the disparity in which challenging classes SHS kids can engage in versus their peers within the same district.” Other parents in the SHS Facebook group seem to share similar concerns.
Another concern is that ECE classes cost more than AP classes do. ECE classes have a required fee of $50 per credit, which ends up being $300 for a 6 credit course. However, taking the AP exam costs $95, and it’s only necessary if you’d like a chance at a college credit. Students can take AP classes for free if they don’t take the test, while ECE courses have a mandatory fee.
History Department Head Doug MacLehose, who has taught both AP and ECE courses, said that AP, IB, and ECE all make a similar impression on college applications. “They are all equally impressive,” Maclehose said. “Personally and professionally I like having students being able to choose which one best fits their learning style. As long as we have high numbers for each class I would continue to run each program.”
Parents on a Stamford High Facebook group revealed suspicions that the school has financial motives for collecting grants for offering IB classes instead of AP classes. Additionally, some wondered why Westhill and AITE aren’t limiting availability of AP classes.
Another restriction with ECE classes is that teachers who are qualified to teach AP aren’t necessarily qualified to teach ECE classes. A class like AP U.S. History becoming only an ECE option could further limit the number of students that can take that class.
Multiple guidance counselors confirmed to the Round Table that they were also not given advance notice about this significant change.
In response, parents have created a petition against SHS cutting these classes. The petition has over 250 signatures. On the petition, a written description includes the words “We want information. We want justification. And most importantly, we demand change.”