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Students At JHS Get Choice Of Several AP/College Courses

JHS junior, Camden Austin, worked in an AP Physics lab during the first week back of in-person instruction for some JHS AP and college-level courses.

“You are going to have to find the time it takes to hit the ground,” said JHS AP Physics teacher Steve Propheter. “So, think about some of the talks we had about human error. Use physics whenever you can to come up with numbers. And also, you are launching horizontally and you need your speed to determine your target area.”

Mr. Propheter explained a lab using what students learned during a two-dimensional motion section to determine the range of projectiles.  Students used information about the acceleration of gravity to map out the trajectory of a projectile.  They determined where the projectile would land and placed a target on the floor with grades on it.  If all goes well, they hit the bullseye for 100!

“It is hard at home, there are definitely less distractions here at school. Being in school keeps you focused,” said JHS junior Hudson Knapp who is also taking AP English and JCC College Connections Public Speaking in person. “It is definitely a better environment to be in, especially AP classes. Up until now, we have seen videos of the labs done by Mr. Propheter and used the data from that to do our work. But to be hands-on in the lab is just so much better to understand the work. And, it is great to be back with your friends. The social part of not being with your friends is difficult.”

AP Physics was just one of 12 AP/college courses that Jamestown High School brought back to in-person learning: JCC Calculus, AP Calculus, AP English 12, AP English 11, JCC English 12, AP Chemistry, AP Environmental Science, AP Biology and Computer Applications. In addition to these classes, JHS is also bringing additional English as a New Language and Special Education students back for in-person instruction to help with any challenges they may be experiencing due to distance learning.

“Being back in the classroom makes it much easier for us to work together,” said Mr. Propheter. “Technology is great!  But there are some things that it can’t take the place of, especially in science.  There is no experience as good as ‘doing’ science. Seeing science work and being able to measure and manipulate variables really helps understand a lot of the concepts involved in a course as rigorous as AP Physics.”  

It was important for JHS to slowly bring students back due to the pandemic and by starting with AP and college elective courses, the health and safety of the students can easily be maintained. The goal is to bring more classes and grade levels back to in-person instruction dependent on New York State guidelines.

“We know that our students need to be in school both academically and socially,” said JHS Principal Dana Williams. “We want to see our kids back in school as much as they want to be back. But, we must weigh that goal against the health and safety guidelines that we must follow to protect our students and staff. Our goal is to continue to add courses and grade levels as long as it is safe for our students and staff.”

JHS JCC College Connections Public Speaking teacher, Barbi Price, has been teaching her class virtually since the beginning of the year. Her students are back in class, which is socially distanced in the JHS auditorium. Students are getting the full experience of speaking to an audience from the stage. They have a better appreciation of their speaking strengths and weaknesses when they have to stand and deliver in person, and they are less distracted than they were as Zoom listeners. 

“The class built a camaraderie on Zoom that will now blossom as they interact together,” said Mrs. Price. “In the face of sanitation and precaution, there’s been much laughter and peer support, so that’s an indication that we are all very pleased to have the opportunity to share safe, distanced, personal interactions and speaking experiences. It’s a win/win: the students like working together as a class, and I can mold them into better speakers when I can evaluate them in person.”

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