Three new advanced placement courses will be available for Saugerties High School students next September. Two of the three courses are English courses: Advanced Placement English and Composition and College Level English. The first of these, the AP English class, will be offered to juniors in the fall as an alternative to the Honors English class that is already in place. These same students will be eligible the following year to move on to another advanced placement class, AP Literature. With the successful completion of both classes and the exams associated with them, these students could receive college credit for English 101 and 102.
During the February Board of Education meeting, Trustee Krista Barringer asked whether there was a way to ensure students who could not afford to take the AP exams for these classes receive financial assistance if they were interested in taking them. (The classes are free but the exams carry a fee.) High School Principal Tom Averill said there already is a reduced rate for those students who receive free and reduced lunch, but that there was some funding if a situation should arise. He called it “a pretty good bargain” to receive three college credits for $82.
The second English offering is college level English through a partnership with Ulster County Community College. Averill said there would be no impact on the budget from the addition of this class with the exception of materials, and added that this would be an opportunity for students to challenge themselves in their final year, rather than “float[ing] through.”
The third new course offering is AP Environmental Science. Averill said the inspiration for adding this course was the success of another environmental science course already being offered. He said, “Let’s just roll with it because the students are enjoying it.”
In addition to these three offerings, another new item in the course catalog will be a 28-hour SAT prep class. The district is offering this class to students this year for free, since they received grant money to pay for it. In future years, however, the cost will be $45 per student.
Board members had a positive reaction to these additions. Trustee Florence Hyatt called it “very laudable and very necessary.” Board Vice President Tom Ham said, “This is wonderful.” The student representative, senior Karley O’Connor, said she wished she had received the opportunity to take these classes and said she was happy future students would have them as options.