Hive Happenings

For high school students nationwide, the arrival of May brings warmer weather and, of course, the long anticipated summer vacation. Before that, however, many of those students have their sights set on assessments for which they’ve been preparing all year long, Advanced Placement Examinations. Administered by the College Board, these important exams are designed to measure student performance at the culmination of advanced college-level courses they have the option to take as part of their high school experience. Students that perform particularly well on these assessments could be eligible for advanced credits to apply to their college or university transcripts. District Supervisor of the Counseling department, Mr. Scott Maciag, says, “AP courses are a great opportunity for students to gain hands-on experience and preparation for college level coursework. The rigor of the courses and the exams provide long term benefits as students move through undergraduate and graduate level work. The foundation of AP courses provide the students a firm base on which to build their future educational experiences.” 

Here in the Hanover Park Regional High School District, students prepare for over twenty-five AP examinations. Among these courses are AP Calculus BC, AP English Language and Composition, AP United States History, AP Biology, AP Psychology, and many others. 

Among the newest of AP offerings at Hanover Park Regional is AP Art History. Hanover Park Art teacher Stella Sormani says the course, “Provides the opportunity to understand world cultures by examining 250 images, objects, and works of architecture. The course spans the globe and covers time periods from earliest humans to our modern world… Although many may assume the course is about art making, it is about understanding and analyzing the works studied through knowledge of their cultural context.” Whippany Park’s AP Art History teacher, Ms. Christina Wolf says, “A highlight of my year teaching this course was when I received a note from a student expressing that the course prepared her for continuing to appreciate art in her future beyond high school.” 

Hanover Park AP English Language and Composition teacher, Dr. Colleen Doman, says the course she teaches is “one of the most versatile… for college-bound students.” She adds that, “Reading and writing are the backbones of the academic enterprise, regardless of discipline, and this course helps students hone their ability to understand/evaluate rhetoric and argument, as well as produce their own written argument with appropriate claims and evidence, reasoning, and organization.” 

The District also participates in AP Capstone, a two-year program that empowers students to conduct research, report findings, and deliver formal presentations. Ms. Christina Huizenga, a Hanover Park teacher in that program, says AP Seminar “revolves around collaborative group work and independent work to help solve real problems that are ongoing in our world. Students thoroughly enjoy this class… because they have the opportunity to research relevant issues that are of genuine interest to them, then come up with solutions to solve those issues from different perspectives.” 

When asked to comment on Hanover Park’s AP program, senior Isabella Tango said, “[It] helped me tremendously in preparing for college leveled classes. Specifically, AP Environmental 

Science allowed me to apply the concepts learned in the classroom to my everyday life. The resources provided to me and the lessons learned will carry me far, throughout college and into my career.” 

Similarly, Whippany Park’s AP Music Theory teacher, Mr. Peter Sciaino, notes that AP courses help students develop their interests, when he says, “I teach AP Music Theory as if the students are music majors in their first semester of college. Some students ultimately go into music and others don’t, but these advanced concepts always help them in their pursuit of the subject. I’m proud to say that they will be superior performers, music teachers or, most likely, consumers of music in their futures.” 

In addition to its AP offerings, Hanover Park Regional has partnered with local colleges and universities to offer several dual credit courses. Students taking these courses have the option to participate in a program that allows them the opportunity to earn college credits for successful performance in them. Among the over fifteen courses offered with dual credit designation are Film Study, American Popular Music, Anatomy and Physiology, Economics, Fundamentals of Culinary Arts, Tomorrow’s Teachers, and Dynamics of Healthcare. 

Whippany Park music teacher Mr. Craig Limey teaches two dual-credit offerings. He says, “American Popular Music is a comprehensive survey course of popular music in the United States from the middle of the eighteenth century to present day, ranging from blues, rock and roll, jazz, and pop music to the music of today. Students follow up-to-date music releases and then witness the results on the weekly Billboard Hot 100 chart. Music Technology is a hands-on course through which students learn the latest in music arranging/recording skills in the fields of production, engineering, and mixing while developing their creative and critical thinking skills through individual and group projects. Students also enhance their musical and technological understandings through listening and experimentation while exploring potential career opportunities.” 

Another popular dual credit course is Film Study, in which students analyze films and filmmaking techniques in the same way they analyze literature in their English classes. Hanover Park Film Study teacher, Ms. Nadine Siciliano, says, “The basis of Film Studies is the understanding that movies are visual and auditory persuasive arguments. Movies manipulate us with images, sounds, editing techniques, and acting; being aware of these tools moves students from passive to active viewers. After this course, students say they can never watch a movie the same way. They are now attuned to the nuances that go into moviemaking, and each movie experience is richer than before. Watching this transition happen is one of the most rewarding and exciting parts teaching this English elective.” 

For Hanover Park Regional, our students’ success remains paramount. Hanover Park principal, Mr. Thomas Callanan, put it succinctly when he said, “Over the past ten years, [we have] expanded AP and dual credit offerings in an effort to allow more students to experience rigorous college-level courses while in high school. Year after year, graduates return to tell us how these courses have been accepted for general credit at their various colleges and universities and have therefore allowed them to matriculate through their programs faster, while also affording them more time to focus on their college majors and courses of interest.” 


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