AP Art will be replaced with new ‘Honors Art’ class next year

BP Photo by Ariela Feitelberg

Colleen Bazak, Features Editor

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In what may or may not be a sign of things to come, AP Studio Art will not be offered as of next year and will be replaced by an honors art class designed for Shalhevet by Art teacher Roen Salem.

Juniors enrolled in the two-year course now will be able to finish it next year, but no new students will enter the class. Instead, current sophomores who want to continue in art will be offered the new four-day-per-week honors class, which Roen feels will be more beneficial.

Roen said the popular AP course is more narrowly focused than what she hopes to present in the honors class, which will include sculpture, ceramics, field trips and even sewing — none of which are possible within the AP curriculum.

Under guidelines set by the College Board, she explained, AP Art requires students to choose a “concentration,” a visual subject or theme which they explore through particular media and styles.

“When you take AP art, you need to work towards your concentration,” said Roen, who is also chair of the Art and Performing Arts department. “This way we can extend our knowledge. We also can do group projects in an honors art class, and in AP Art you cannot do that.”

Student reaction was favorable.

“I like the idea of an honors class because it gives people a way to experiment with different art forms,” junior and AP art student Neda Kerendian said.

“Not everyone wants to paint. It’s better to have more of a variety, and AP art limits that.”

 

The art change is apparently one of several planned in the AP curricuilum next year. In addition, next year a first-ever non-AP psychology course will be offered, depending on student interest. Because of its popularity, AP Psych is the only other besides Art that currently has more than one section.

Acting General Studies Principal Mr. Roy Danovitch said that next year, the administration plans to conduct a formal review of all AP classes and may eventually replace them with independent honors courses, to be known as “SAS” courses for “Shalhevet Adanced Studies.”

“In three years, I would hope that we can replace APs with an independent advanced curriculum,” Mr. Danovitch said in an interview. “Students would still get the same GPA boost, but it would allow our course offerings to expand and be more unique.”

These replacement courses would require prerequisites, he said, and therefore would only be offered to juniors and seniors, just as APs are. Mr. Danovitch hopes that the change will switch classes from being lecture-based and directed towards a test to being based on the love of learning.

Roen said 15 students would be selected for the honors art class, which will meet  four times a week, as AP Art is. And though students will have to be approved based on art they submit to Roen, there won’t be any particular prerequisites.

“You need to be passionate about art to be in the class,” Roen said. “You don’t need to be Picasso. You just need to love art.”

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