Students in Grade 4 completed a scavenger hunt as they explored the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian. The activity tied together their art and social studies lessons and allowed the students to use their critical thinking skills as they learned about culture, history, and artwork.
Over the past several years Landon has been in discussion with seven other area independent schools (Holton-Arms School, Georgetown Day School, Maret School, National Cathedral School, Potomac School, St. Albans School and Sidwell Friends School) regarding the role of Advanced Placement (AP) courses in our Upper Schools.
All eight schools are now committing to moving beyond the AP course offerings by the 2022–23 school year at the latest. Instead, our talented faculty will take ownership of designing engaging, rigorous and mission-oriented courses for our most capable students instead of an outside agency (The College Board), which currently prescribes a set curriculum for all AP courses.
Teachers are the most essential ingredient to learning and intellectual engagement. There are great teachers who work with the AP, and great teachers who don’t. We are simply refusing to peg our performance to how well a student does on a test. Rather, we are seeking to construct courses that are relevant to the expertise of our faculty and the mission of our school community.
We know from the many other excellent independent schools that have moved beyond the AP offerings over the past two decades that this move has resulted in a more dynamic curriculum for students with no impact on their college placement.
From New England boarding schools such as Choate Rosemary Hall to New York City schools such as the Dalton School to boys’ schools such as the Haverford School, independent schools have been reclaiming their curriculum and delivering a deeper and more meaningful educational experience to their students by moving beyond the AP offerings.
This move beyond APs moves us toward fulfilling two of the action steps of our Strategic Plan — to ensure our curriculum is consistent with the very best in boys’ education and our boys’ overall cognitive, social and emotional well-being.