AP and Honors Courses

  • Overview

    The Advanced Placement (AP) and the Honors programs are designed to provide students the opportunity to take college preparatory and college level courses while in high school.  Utilizing college preparatory and college level class expectations, including a college curriculum or textbook, students learn through an advanced level of instruction and then have an opportunity to show what they have learned by taking AP assessments.  Colleges and universities often grant credit, placement, or both to these students based on the student's exam score.

    The content and curricular goals of each AP discipline are outlined in course descriptions provided by College Board and a course syllabus provided by the teacher.  All course syllabi are reviewed and approved by College Board and the Dean of Instruction.  AP courses are characterized by offering college level content, an accelerated pace, and higher level assessment methods.

    Successful AP students are task-oriented, proficient readers, self-starters that utilize appropriate study habits and have parental support.  The courses are designed to cultivate skills that extend beyond the classroom environment and have long term application.  Students are expected to take ownership for the material and prepare for the courses while in school and after school hours.

    Honors courses are designed to prepare students for AP and college courses.  While not part of the AP curriculum, these courses are a valuable part of Waltrip's advanced academic program.  Each honors course is designed to provide rigorous instruction of state expectations while incorporating the skills that will be utilized in AP and college coursework.  Students successfully completing honors coursework are typically better prepared for the expectations of AP and college courses.

    Entrance and Selection

    Students entering Waltrip High School as ninth grade students are evaluated based on a number of criteria.  Honors students are selected based on prior enrollment in honors courses, successful completion of those courses, and performance on standardized exams such as STAAR or PSAT.  Waltrip utilizes AP Potential to identify students with a high likelihood of succeeding in honors and AP courses.

    Those students currently enrolled at Waltrip High School may enter the program by approaching their grade level principal, grade level counselor, or the Associate Principal Ms. Barley.  The appropriateness of entry will be determined by examining standardized scores, AP Potential, and teacher recommendation.  If it is determined that a student should meet the entry requirements, the student will be assigned the appropriate courses.

    If a student does not meet the entry requirements they will not be enrolled in the courses.  A parent or student may challenge the decision by contacting the school.  If the child is placed in an Honors or AP course, the student will be expected to sign an entrance agreement indicating that they will complete expectations for the course and seek instructional support when needed.

    Honors and AP Course Expectations

    • Students will maintain an 80 average in all AP and Honors courses. If the student falls below and 80, the student is expected to attend appropriate tutorials and seek instructional support.
    • Students will read assignments prior to the class meeting.  Class time is for instruction and clarifying information.  Prior assignments are critical in reaching the depth needed to access information.
    • Students will be expected to study 2-5 hours per course each week.  The AP exams cover a large amount of information.  It is not possible to address all possible topics in class, therefore students are expected to extend their learning outside the scheduled class time.
    • Teachers will provide a syllabus outlining poicies for their individual classes.  All students are expected to comply with expectations for the course.

    Entrance Considerations

    Prior to enrolling in Honors and AP courses it is helpful to reflect on the expectations and the student's prior performance.  Some important considerations include:

    • Is the student currently enrolled in honors coursework? If so, have they been successful?
    • These courses often have more at home expectations. Will the student complete the expectations outside the school day?
    • Does the student enjoy rigorous work?
    • Has the student used an organizer or planner to keep up with their assignments? Is someone available to help facilitate these skills at home?
    • How well does the student handle stressful situations and deadlines?
    • Does the student have a job or outside expectation that will inhibit their ability to study or prepare for the course?
    • Will the student take the corresponding exam for the course?
    • As a parent, are you realistic about your child meeting these expectations?

    If you are interested in entering Honors or AP Courses please speak with your classroom teacher, grade level Assistant Principal, counselor, or email the Associate Principal Ms. Rosalind Barley.