AP Capstone at Museum School


Katlyn Martins

The expressions on the faces of 10th grade AP Seminar students show a range of emotions about the course.

Caroline Nicholas , News Writer

This school year at NYC Museum School, the AP Capstone program was offered to sophomores. The program has initially been offered only to sophomores at Museum due to it being a 2-year long course, but in the coming year, it will be offered to sophomores and seniors.

AP Capstone requires one year of AP seminar, one of AP research, and an additional 4 AP classes with a minimum of a 3 on the AP exam for each class. Considering the program’s hefty requirements, it can be very advantageous for students: College Board—the organization that administers AP and other standardized exams, such as the SAT—describes it as a powerful indicator of college readiness on a student’s transcript and helps students stand out to colleges in the application process.” 

Ms. DeStefano and Ms. Dworken both teach AP Seminar classes. Although it is Ms. DeStefano’s first year teaching the course, she recognizes the benefits this class can provide for a student as well as the progress her students have made in the first semester. “There’ve been some ups and downs but I was very pleased to see students come together in teams for their amazing group presentations” She also comments on the somewhat shaky start AP Seminar had due to it being new at Museum “I think we were all a little unfamiliar with the scope of AP Seminar at the beginning so we are all learning together how to succeed in the course”

AP Seminar students work independently and teachers are generally there to supervise and make sure they stay on task. This structure has both benefits and drawbacks. An anonymous sophomore under the initials H.K., who is taking Ms. DeStefano’s AP Seminar class, highlights the skills they’ve learned in just the first months of school. “I’m learning how to research, find reliable sources, and harness those sources wisely .”

A similar perspective was shared by Sophomore Viola Lehnert, who acknowledged the many skills to be earned from taking the course, “I feel like I’m gaining a lot of independence having to figure things out on my own.” 

Even with the motivating factors of taking AP Seminar and working towards the AP Capstone diploma in general we are reminded that despite its flexible structure it is still an AP class and presents the difficulty any other would. As we came back for the new year AP seminar students prepared to present performance task 1 which consists of both a group presentation and an individual research report. 

For the majority of the school year, students worked in groups addressing real-world issues and assessing multiple solutions in the creation of extremely developed and sophisticated presentations. Through their presentations, the students showcased an impressive understanding of sources and were able to use them to form complex and convincing arguments.

The presentations displayed the time and effort required to take this course and some students expressed the hardships faced working toward their first performance task. Sophomore Rex Barret commented, “She’s [Ms. Destafano] not really a teacher, she’s more of a coach because she can’t help you with specific things.” With no direct guidance from a teacher AP seminar is a self-directed course which can be seen as a drawback. Despite this, it’s a course that allows for students to cultivate discipline and expand their skill sets.

Overall, AP Capstone is a quickly growing program at Museum School and has created numerous opportunities for students to reach their educational goals.