New rule: No AP classes for rising sophomores


NYC iSchool Sophomore Dianney Mascary filling out an AP US History application.

Piper Paulino and Nina Roberts

A new rule for the NYC iSchool states that rising sophomores are not allowed to sign up for AP classes. Assistant Principal Michelle Leimsider announced the rule on May 15 just before the AP applications could officially be handed out. Do students find this fair?

Around this time of year at the NYC iSchool, students are handing in applications for Advanced Placement classes, hoping they can take it the following year. The AP classes offered at the iSchool include “AB Calculus”, “CD Calculus”, “Environmental Science”, “Language and Composition”, ”US History”, and  “Global History”.

The purpose of AP classes is to help students learn to handle a college-level workload and achieve higher academic skills. These classes can leave good impressions on colleges. The downside to AP classes, which was brought to the attention of the iSchool staff, is that the majority of students taking AP classes feel an immense amount of stress.

Freshman Ana Trandafirescu thought of this as fair but also unfair. “Part of me thinks it’s necessary because it gives more spots for juniors and seniors but another part of me thinks some sophomores should have the chance to take a more challenging course that can really engage them”.

Ana explains how she wanted to take AP classes: “originally I was thinking about taking World History or U.S. They seemed really interesting. I would have loved to take them but now I can’t.”

Ana further explains her feelings by saying, “part of me thinks it’s fair another half unfair, the method before was more fair.” The method before was offering places to uprising sophomores if the AP classes did not fill up. “It’s not the most unfair thing in the world though.”

English teacher, Mr. Jones, who teaches AP Language and Composition, agrees with the new school policy. He  gave an explanation that really put the new rule in perspective.

I think the policy makes sense when you consider the mission of the iSchool and what we’re trying to do here: specifically, give students the opportunity to pursue their interests, provide a wide variety of classes (all of which are academically rigorous), and bring the real world into the classroom as frequently and authentically as possible.”

But what does this mean? What does it mean for rising sophomores and for upperclassmen?

Simply said, Mr. Jones believes in the school when they say that testing is not their priority. Allowing only juniors and seniors to have access to these AP classes gives all students enough time and opportunity to explore their interests. If sophomores were to be included, it would be for the purpose of loading the students’ transcripts, which isn’t the goal of the NYC iSchool.

Mr. Jones even expanded further on this, saying, “most of the year I don’t have the exam itself in mind as I plan my lessons. I’m really just trying to develop a love for reading and writing in each of my students.” In reference to the actual test, Mr. Jones’ AP class isn’t a test prep course. His “goals are much bigger than that,” and that can reassure rising sophomores that this new policy is in their benefit.

Some sophomores were in for a surprise when they realized exactly how much work and stress comes with taking an AP class.

Two sophomore students currently taking AP Global shared their opinions on the class.

Dianney Mascary says that AP classes have put her through a lot of stress. “It’s been so stressful all year.”

According to Joey Lin taking AP Global was “very emotionally draining and very intense.”

The new policy at the NYC iSchool appears to be limiting the choices for sophomores. However, as students can tell through their teachers, they have their best interest at heart, as they’ve always had since the school began back in ‘09. If every teacher has the objectives like Mr. Jones to have “honed their ability to put together a sentence, to translate the interesting ideas in their heads into words on a page. To engage in nuanced discussions on complicated subjects. To spend more time asking hard questions and less time arriving at easy answers,” then teachers have made the right choice.