Making the best of a situation was the goal of Sioux Falls Advanced Placement teachers when it came to preparing students for a shortened time table.

Barb Newitt who teaches AP Physics at Roosevelt High School was concerned that Sioux Falls Public School students would be disadvantaged. Voters decided to change the calendar in favor of a September start while the national testing days are set in stone.

“Our students started class on September 8 and took the test on May 2. They had the same test and the same content as a student in Omaha or Kansas City that started school the second week of August.”

Thus Newitt used unique ways to play catch up which meant student and faculty sacrifices were necessary.

“We had to get creative as how to get around (losing) three weeks (of class time.) In my class students ended up doing three weeks over their breaks. During Thanksgiving, Christmas and President’s Day they studied fifteen days (worth) of curriculum.”

Participation trended downward at Roosevelt this year by 8 percent according to Newitt. She feels that part of that was a result of the calendar change.

As far as student performance, the scores will be available in July. Newitt hopes to be able to track the results and better be able to counsel students on whether taking AP courses are the right move.


See Also: