Summer Class Provides Unique Experience for Students


Quincy Palmateer, Staff Writer

Because of the impact that the pandemic had on last school year, there was federal funding set aside for summer programs to give students learning opportunities that they may have missed out on during the previous school year. Ms. Welsh and Mr. Reader held one of the optional summer classes for students taking AP Seminar and AP US History that covered topics related to both classes’ curriculums. The class covered some of the topics in the AP Seminar summer reading as well as some of the topics that would be covered in AP US History. Ms. Welsh described the uniqueness of the class by describing the interidsicplinary look that students received, because there was both a literature teacher and a history teacher showing their perspectives on the ideas discussed in class. 

The AP Seminar class is a part of the AP Capstone which is a special recognition for students who take (and pass) AP Seminar, AP Research, and 4 other AP classes of their choosing. In AP Seminar students learn how to use research from other people to support their own arguments about the world. AP Seminar is also a unique course in its way of going about testing, students have to submit two video presentations, and two papers in addition to taking the test. AP Research on the other hand teaches students to form their own research to be able to then be used to support their own arguments, and students must write a paper on the research that they did. 

This summer class gave students opportunities that they would not be able to have during the school year.  Ms. Welsh described the uniqueness of these opportunities by saying, “… in a normal school year we can not just get on the Patco very often, and this was a nice opportunity to get out of the room.” The class was able to take a tour of Black historical sites in Philadelphia, historical sites relevant to LGBTQ history, and the Athenaeum to see primary documents about the construction of the capitol building. These trips allowed students in the class to have a hands-on learning experience that related to the reading that they were doing as well. 

The funding used to support this summer program is likely to have only been for this year, but from what I have seen from talking to Ms. Welsh along with some of the students who participated in the summer class was that if it is possible, having the class continue to future years can only be beneficial for future students. Caitlin Connor, one of the students who participated in the class, said that she especially enjoyed going to places that connected to what they were learning about and looking more in-depth into LGBTQ history. Ms. Welsh said that some of the benefits from the class that she noticed were that the students and teachers involved were able to get to know each other very well and that they were able to have small group discussions that are not always possible in larger classes. In our discussion Ms. Welsh also mentioned her appreciation of the students in the class, saying, “The students just really did an excellent job; that is a time of year when people can be sleeping in and relaxing and doing nothing, and those students put in a lot of time and effort, and thoughtful contributions to class. Mr. Reader and I really appreciated the time we spent with them and that they were willing to do that, and the great discussions we had as a result.”