Return to Headlines

Pre-AP Courses At EPCHS Help Narrow The Educational Gap

EVERGREEN PARK, IL – Evergreen Park Community High School is finding a way to narrow the educational gap with an equity-minded approach.

The school has adopted a Pre-Advanced Placement framework developed by the College Board that allows every incoming student to enroll in a course that prepares them to take AP courses in their later high school years. 

EPCHS is among the few schools in Illinois adopting the curriculum, which gives both freshman and sophomore students an opportunity to take courses that can better prepare them for AP courses and college.

In the program’s first year at EPCHS, all freshman and sophomore students enrolled in English 1, Algebra 1 and Geometry are currently taking Pre-AP courses.

Pre-AP courses close the learning gap to prepare all students an opportunity to take AP courses. While the level of difficulty is similar to the non-Pre-AP courses that have traditionally been offered for freshmen and sophomores, the Pre-AP curriculum framework is designed to cover many of the same principles that will come up in AP courses.

“We’re covering a lot of the same material, but with skills that will now prepare them, not only for future English courses, but also possible AP opportunities and English courses post-high school,” Michelle Vucsko, who teaches both Pre-AP and AP English at EPCHS, said. “The English skills associated with Pre-AP are rigorous in a way that is not daunting for students, but instead engaging and accessible.”

Tammy Pietruszynski, an EPCHS math teacher, added that the Pre-AP courses “help students see the connections between previously learned material and what they are currently learning, and how the content can be applicable to life beyond the classroom.”

Perhaps most importantly, the courses “allow more of our students a chance to take an AP course,” EPCHS Director of Curriculum Deb Schillo said.

Not only do the Pre-AP courses provide support to succeed in a challenging classroom environment, they are designed to support all students across varying levels of readiness.

“It’s narrowing the gap to allow for a lot more equity and movement,” Schillo said.

The Pre-AP courses allow some students to transition into AP courses in their sophomore years, and others when they become juniors.

Next year, EPCHS will add Pre-AP courses in Algebra 2, English 2, Biology and multiple vocal and instrumental music courses.