AP & Advanced Courses

While we will continue to offer a handful of Advanced Placement courses, a majority of our courses will be advanced with the option to take AP tests. Why do we choose this approach? It gives our talented teachers the flexibility to teach above and beyond the prescribed AP material if the opportunity presents itself, engaging students more fully and giving them a better educational experience. Instead of teaching to a standardized AP test, faculty can individualize their instruction and fuel students’ love of learning while honing their critical thinking and analysis skills. Our current advanced and AP course offerings include:

List of 19 items.

  • AP Biology

    Prerequisites: Grade of B+ or higher in Biology, A‑ or higher in Chemistry, or B+ or higher in Honors Chemistry and/or departmental recommendation.
    Students enrolled in an AP course are required to take the corresponding AP exam in May. This course is a rigorous, college‑level survey of major biological concepts including biochemistry, cell structure and function, genetics, evolution, ecology, kingdoms of organisms and animal physiology. Students should expect extensive reading, lab work and independent projects in preparation for the Advanced Placement examination.
  • AP Physics C: Mechanics

    Prerequisites: Grade of A‑ or higher in Chemistry, B+ or higher in Physics or Honors Chemistry, and departmental recommendation with concurrent enrollment in Advanced Calculus AB or above.
    Students enrolled in an AP course are required to take the corresponding AP exam in May. This course provides an intensive investigation of the main principles of mechanics and is representative of an introductory college course typically required for engineering and science majors. Specifically, the following six content areas will be covered: kinematics; Newton’s laws of motion; work, energy, and power, systems of particles and linear momentum; circular motion and rotation; and oscillations and gravitation. The course utilizes guided inquiry and student‑centered learning to foster the development of critical thinking skills and uses introductory differential and integral calculus throughout the course.
  • AP United States Government & Politics

    Students enrolled in an AP course are required to take the corresponding AP exam in May This course investigates the theory and practice of government and politics in the United States while offering the opportunity for AP credit. Students learn how families, schools and the media perpetuate political beliefs and influence political participation. They discover why some segments of the population, such as the elderly, are more effective than others in shaping the national policy. Students become knowledgeable about the powers of Congress and the presidency and develop an appreciation for the Supreme Court as a defender of civil rights and an agent of social change. In addition to reading a primary text, students are expected to examine weekly political newspapers, and selected movies reflecting American political culture.
  • AP United States History

    Prerequisite: Grade of B+ or higher in World Societies
    Students enrolled in an AP course are required to take the corresponding AP exam in May. A chronological course, AP United States History surveys American history from the time of the first significant European contact with indigenous peoples to the present, preparing students to take the Advanced Placement exam in May. Students read a demanding college‑level text, write interpretive essays, work with primary documents and produce a short paper or two focusing on a theme from the 19th or 20th centuries. In addition, students are responsible for reading and outlining the first unit of the text over the previous summer, as the course leaps right into the American Revolution in September and covers the entire curriculum before the exam.
  • Advanced Calculus AB with AP Option

    Prerequisite: Grade of B‑ or higher in Precalculus or a C+ or higher in Honors Precalculus and teacher recommendation.
    This class explores differential and integral calculus. The theory behind the derivative and the integral, as well as applications of each, is covered in depth. This AP level class is designed so that a student will be prepared to take the AP Calculus AB exam. A student who does not take the AP exam will be required to take a final exam in May.
  • Advanced Calculus BC with AP Option

    Prerequisite: teacher recommendation.
    This class will have a summer assignment and will begin with a very quick review of the calculus topics covered in Honors Precalculus. The new topics that will be covered include more involved techniques of integration, differential equations, infinite series, and calculus for polar and parametric curves. This AP level class is designed so that a student will be prepared to take the AP Calculus BC exam. A student who does not take the AP exam will be required to take a final exam in May.
  • Advanced Statistics with AP Option

    Prerequisite: teacher recommendation Statistics is the art and science of collecting, organizing, analyzing, and drawing conclusions from data.
    In Advanced Statistics, the focus will be on four major themes: exploratory data analysis, designing studies, probability models and simulation, and statistical inference. Advanced Statistics is designed to be at least as comprehensive as any one‑semester, college introductory statistics course. This AP level class is designed so that a student who completes additional work outside of class will be prepared to take the AP Statistics exam.
  • Advanced Environmental Science with AP Option

    Prerequisites: Grade of B+ or higher in Biology, A‑ or higher in Chemistry, or B+ or higher in Honors Chemistry and departmental recommendation.
    This course aims to develop citizens who can make informed, knowledgeable decisions concerning environmental issues. By nature, environmental science is interdisciplinary and includes topics in ecology, population dynamics, atmospheric science, environmental quality, resource allocation and the economic and ethical impacts of environmental issues. Hands‑on activities include field investigations of local ecosystems as well as traditional labs and independent projects. In addition, we will take field trips to explore local resources. This AP level class is designed so that a student will be prepared to take the AP Environmental Science exam. The AP exam will not serve as the final for the class.
  • Advanced Chemistry with AP Option

    Prerequisites: Grade of B+ in Honors Chemistry and/or departmental recommendation, with concurrent enrollment in Algebra II or above.
    Students enrolled in an AP course are required to take the corresponding AP exam in May. AP Chemistry is a college level chemistry course designed to meet the requirements of the advanced placement curriculum as defined by the College Board. The course seeks to meet these curriculum requirements within a laboratory framework. Emphasis will be placed on developing experimental techniques and real world applications of chemistry. This college level course focuses on topics such as: thermodynamics, thermochemistry, physical behavior of gases, states and structures of matter, chemical equilibrium and kinetics, and various chemical reactions. Challenging, regular laboratory exercises, requiring quantitative, rather than merely qualitative analysis, will be emphasized in this course.
  • Advanced Computer Science A with AP Option

    Students enrolled in an AP course are required to take the corresponding AP exam in May. Knowledge of programming and programming techniques has become a crucial 21st century skill in a myriad of fields such as medicine and health, engineering, business, finance, science, and of course technology. The use of computers to simulate real-world events increases each year, and the complexity of computer algorithms likewise increases to provide better information each year. The AP Computer Science A course provides an introduction to computer science and programming assuming basic proficiencies in computers or programming. Students will learn the basics of creating programs to solve various problems and continue to learn more advanced techniques to contend with more difficult problems as the year progresses. Java, a popular object-oriented programming language, will provide students with the opportunity to learn how to program and then develop more complex solutions to problems as the year progresses.
  • Advanced English Language & Composition with AP Option

    Prerequisite: Grade of A‑ or higher in English II, demonstrated an aptitude for writing and comfortable writing under time pressure, teacher recommendation.
    Students enrolled in this course have the option of taking the corresponding AP exam in May. The objective of this writing‑based course is to meet the goals established by the College Board course “AP English Language and Composition,” a course that mirrors first‑year writing classes at the college level. To meet these goals, we will read and write various types of essays: personal pieces, argumentative writings about contemporary socio‑political issues, essays in response to literary works, and also a contemporary issues research paper. Many of our writings will involve learning how to properly incorporate outside sources and, to prepare for the AP Exam, will be in‑class, timed pieces. To coincide with FVS’s Junior‑year study of American History and Literature, nearly all of our readings will come from American authors, and our argumentative writings will be focused on contemporary American social issues, policy debates, and politics. (*FYI: What differentiates this course from the Senior‑year AP Literature course is the emphasis on writing, particularly on reading and writing argumentative, non‑fiction essays.)
  • Advanced English Literature & Composition with AP Option

    Prerequisite: Grade of A‑ or higher in English III or a B+ or above in Advanced English Language and Composition, demonstrated aptitude for reading, analyzing, and discussing challenging prose, demonstrated ability to write under time pressure, teacher recommendation
    Students enrolled in this course have the option of taking the corresponding AP exam in May. Advanced English Literature is a college‑level seminar course that encourages highly motivated readers and writers to explore challenging and diverse literary offerings while preparing for the Advanced Placement exam in English Literature. Advanced English Literature begins with a review of the summer reading texts, then focuses on important authors and poets from around the world: Shakespeare, Woolf, Erdrich, Faulkner, Roy, Garcia Marquez, Chekhov, and Sophocles among others. These works are complemented and contextualized by historical study and referencing literary theory, from Aristotle to Derrida. Readings and discussions are organized around each author's contribution to the course’s essential question(s): what does it mean to tell a story – to tell our own story – and how does the manner in which stories are told indicate their content. In‑class essays complement formal out‑of‑class essays and are a significant part of students' work in composition. Additionally, students ought to expect to be leaders of the classroom environment and will do so formally through presentations and Socratic Seminars, among other activities.
  • Advanced World History with AP Option

    Prerequisite: History teacher recommendation and teacher evaluation of student writing.
    Advanced World History is designed to help students develop a greater understanding of the evolution of global processes and the interactions between people in different types of human societies. Students gain an understanding of world history through learning factual knowledge and using analytical skills to examine varying types of historical evidence from multiple perspectives. Focusing on the past 1,000 years of the global experience, the course builds on an understanding of cultural, institutional and technological precedents that serve as the foundation of the modern world. Continuities and changes over time and place, comparisons of societies and situations, and document‑based evaluations of issues are all heavily emphasized. Students are expected to fully participate in class dialogues, complete collaborative projects, and create multimedia presentations in addition to critical writing and content assessments. This advanced level class is designed so that a student who completes additional work outside of class will be prepared to take the AP World History exam.
  • Advanced Chinese Language & Culture with AP Option

    This advanced level class is designed so that a student will be prepared to take the AP Chinese Language and Culture exam. A student who does not take the AP exam will be required to take a final exam in May. This advanced Chinese course is intended to develop the students' language skills in three communicative modes (interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational), while deepening their insights into the various aspects of the cultures of China and other Chinese‑speaking communities. Throughout the year, students will learn about various aspects of contemporary and historical Chinese society and explore the realm of Chinese societal relationships. The course introduces students to significant persons, products, and themes in Chinese history through topics such as Chinese philosophy, government institutions, and artistic pursuits (e.g., calligraphy, painting, literature, and music, as well as folk arts and culture). Students will also develop an awareness of China’s role in global issues, such as energy and the environment, economics, and politics.
  • Advanced Spanish Language & Culture with AP Option

    Prerequisite: Grade of B+ or higher in Honors Spanish III or both Spanish IV semester classes, teacher recommendation and support of Languages Department Chair
    The Advanced Spanish Language and Culture course is a rigorous course that is taught exclusively in Spanish and approximately equivalent to a 5th or 6th semester university course. The course requires students to improve their proficiency across the three modes of communication (interpretive, interpersonal, and presentational). The course focuses on the integration of authentic resources including online print, audio, and audiovisual resources, as well as traditional print resources that include literature, essays, and magazine and newspaper articles, with the goal of providing a rich, diverse learning experience. Students communicate using rich, advanced vocabulary and linguistic structures as they build proficiency in all modes of communication. The course is divided into thematic units which are further based on recommended contexts and guided by essential questions. Corresponding cultural elements are integrated into the study of the units, and activities are directed with those cultural connections in mind. Discussion of the topics completely in Spanish is a requirement for this course. It is assumed that students have previously been exposed to advanced language structures in the courses leading up to the Advanced Spanish Language and Culture course; however, review of the mechanics is done within the contextual framework of each unit as needed. Students in this course will be prepared to take the AP Spanish Language and Culture exam in May if they choose to do so.
  • Advanced French Language & Culture with AP Option

    Prerequisite: Grade of B+ or higher in Honors French III or both French IV semester classes, teacher recommendation, and support of Languages Department Chair
    This course offers students who have completed Honors French III or two semesters of level‑IV electives the opportunity to pursue their study of the French language at the most advanced level available at FVS, with an emphasis on cultural awareness and communication. In this yearlong course, students discuss a variety of concepts through authentic materials from a variety of sources, including newspaper articles, TV and radio newscasts, short films, short stories and literary extracts. Engaging activities are based on a thematic structure aimed at strengthening all language learning skills while enabling students to express themselves about real‑world issues in the target language and learn about the diversity of the French‑speaking world. The themes explored in this course include global issues, science and technology, beauty and aesthetics, contemporary life, family and community, as well as personal identity. Students in this course will be prepared to take the AP French Language and Culture exam in May if they choose to do so. Students who choose not to take the AP exam will complete a final project instead.
  • Advanced Spanish Literature & Culture with AP Option

    Prerequisite: Grade of B+ or higher in Advanced Spanish Language and Culture, teacher recommendation, and support of Languages Department Chair
    The Advanced Spanish Literature and Culture course is a rigorous course that is taught exclusively in Spanish and is approximately equivalent to a 7th or 8th-semester university course. This course is designed to introduce students to the formal study of a representative body of texts from Peninsular Spanish, Latin American and U.S. Hispanic literature. The goal of this course is to teach students to read, understand, and interpret Spanish literary texts as independently as possible. This course will prepare students to understand lectures in Spanish, to participate actively in discussions in Spanish on literary topics, to do a close reading of literary texts of all genres in Spanish, and to analyze critically the form and content of literary works using appropriate terminology. The course provides opportunities for students to demonstrate their proficiency in Spanish across the three modes of communication: interpersonal, interpretive and presentational. The overarching aims of the course are to provide students with ongoing and varied opportunities to further develop their proficiencies across the full range of language skills and to encourage them to reflect on the many voices and cultures included in a rich and diverse body of literature written in Spanish. Students in this course will be prepared to take the AP Spanish Literature and Culture exam in May if they choose to do so.
  • Advanced Art Portfolio 2D with AP Option

    AP Studio Art: 2D, usually part of a two-year sequence, is designed for students who are seriously interested in the practical experience of art, and studio art is one of the options students may pursue. Students submit an extensive portfolio of work for evaluation. Expectations for the quality of work are set at the college level, and students are admitted to this course through a demonstration of superior effort and achievement, self-motivation, and previous art experience. The portfolio will consist of approximately 30 works of art that excel in concept, composition and execution. Students enrolled in an AP course are required to take the corresponding AP exam in May.
  • Advanced Art Portfolio 3D with AP Option

    AP Studio Art: 3D, usually part of a two-year sequence, is designed for students who are seriously interested in the practical experience of art, and ceramics is one of the options students can pursue. Students submit an extensive portfolio of work for evaluation. Expectations for the quality of work are set at the college level, and students are admitted to this course through a demonstration of superior effort and achievement, self-motivation and previous art experience. The portfolio will consist of approximately 30 works of art that excel in concept, composition and execution. Students enrolled in an AP course are required to take the corresponding AP exam in May.

AP & Advanced Course Contact:

List of 1 members.

  • Photo of Debra Prantl

    Debra Prantl 

    Director of Studies, Mathematics Faculty
    (719) 391-5343
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