Naperville Central High School's award-winning newspaper.

Central Times

Naperville Central High School's award-winning newspaper.

Central Times

Naperville Central High School's award-winning newspaper.

Central Times

Science teacher Paige Lundquist leads her third period Honors Biology class on May 10.
D203 Board of Education approves major changes to science course pathway
Nolan Shen, Arts & Entertainment Editor • May 23, 2024
One of the photos taken by senior Tomi Bounphisai of R41N during this years Centrals Got Talent show.
Senior snaps singing, dancing and prom: “I just enjoy watching their vision come alive”
Selah Lee, Staff Writer • May 22, 2024
Sophomores Lilly Jia (far left) and Audrey Cheng (left) instruct competitors at Clover Math’s elementary and middle school math competition, hosted at Central on April 26. Clover Math is an organization founded by four District 203 juniors.
Student-led math organization hosts competition
C.J. Getting, Operations Managing Editor • May 21, 2024
From left to right, Robert Zoellick, Dr. Catherine Adrian DeRidder, Matt DiCianni and Ben Hutchison pose after becoming Central’s newest Distinguished Alumni at a ceremony on May 3.
Central inducts four new distinguished alumni in 25th annual ceremony
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Sections of freshman level AP courses triple after new law passed

AP+Human+Geography+teacher+Randy+Smith+teaches+his+sixth+period+class+on+Oct.+16.+The+number+of+AP+Human+sections+went+from+2+to+6+from+the+2022-23+to+2023-24+school+years.+
Ambrose Keller
AP Human Geography teacher Randy Smith teaches his sixth period class on Oct. 16. The number of AP Human sections went from 2 to 6 from the 2022-23 to 2023-24 school years.

The number of sections of freshmen-level AP classes have tripled between last year and this as a result of District policy changes made in anticipation of a new state law.

Enrollment in AP Human Geography went from 44 students in the 2022-2023 school year to 119 in 2023-2024, while enrollment in AP World History went from 26 to 56 students. This increase led to the addition of four sections of AP Human Geography and two sections of AP World History.

This increased enrollment is the result of the passage of the Accelerated Placement Act in the spring of 2021. Though the law won’t be in place until the beginning of the 2024-2025 school year, District 203 implemented policy changes this year as a pilot in anticipation of the law. Central and North used the eighth grade Illinois Assessment of Readiness (IAR) scores of incoming freshmen to determine who was eligible to be invited to enroll in AP Human Geography or AP World History.

“The legislation has specified that there must be a way for kids who are performing at grade level on state standards to take an honors or AP course,” Principal Jackie Thornton said. “We did a pilot this year with AP Human and AP World, which pretty dramatically increased the number of students that are enrolled in those courses.”

With six sections of AP Human Geography running this year, the class is being taught by both Randy Smith and Maria Connell. While Smith has taught the course since it was first offered at Central, this is the first time he’s teaching the class alongside another teacher.

“Connell has been a great add to the team,” Smith said. “I think what’s exciting is having the ability to collaborate with someone else, but also to have someone, since I’m more experienced in this class, to mentor.”

With the increase in enrollment, some administrators were concerned that students might have difficulty keeping a passing grade, though they have not seen a big change between this year and last thus far.

Jake Pfeiffer

“We’re very closely monitoring student grades in those courses as well as information about who is trying to drop those courses,” Thornton said. “What we’ve found so far is that we are not seeing dramatic changes in the number of students with a D or an F in those classes.”

While students’ grades have not changed significantly, teachers are seeing significant usage of SOAR support and reassessments. According to Connell, the class typically receives 45-60 students in SOAR Support periods (the sessions are capped at 60 students).

“I think that’s honestly a good thing because they’re utilizing that time spent [and] getting extra support,” Connell said.

Work is also being done at the junior high schools to ensure that students are ready for the course load of an AP class.

“In middle school, they made it seem like it was gonna be really difficult and it isn’t,” said freshman Rohan Filip, who’s taking AP Human Geography. “They overhyped it too much.”

Next year, Central will be required to be in compliance with the Accelerated Placement Act in all four core subject areas. While Central has been running an opt-in program this year, next year will run as an opt-out program: instead of students being “invited” to take a more advanced course, they will be automatically signed up for the accelerated course, and will have to opt-out if they wish to not take it.

Students’ 8th grade IAR scores will be used to place incoming freshmen in Honors English 1, Algebra 1 with Geometry, and Honors Biology (for incoming sophomores), in addition to AP Human Geography and AP World History.

“The challenge with that is we are still likely using eighth-grade assessments as one of the determining factors [for incoming sophomores] along with current progress grades because we don’t have a state assessment for freshmen before course selection,” Thornton said.

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About the Contributors
C.J. Getting
C.J. Getting, News Editor
C.J. is a junior entering his third year on Staff for the Central Times. He’s always loved writing news, and is excited to work as the News Editor this year. When he’s not writing for CT, C.J. can be found captaining the Debate Team or helping out SAC or JSA. He also desperately needs to detox from volunteering. After graduation, C.J. hopes to major in Political Science and spend too much money on Law School someday.
Nolan Shen
Nolan Shen, Arts & Entertainment Editor
Nolan is a senior, entering his third year on staff. He is excited to be heading the Arts and Entertainment section this year. When not writing for CT, he can be found playing with the Marching Redhawks Drumline, performing in the Naperville Youth Symphony, eating too much McDonald’s, and watching bad sci-fi movies. Next year, he plans on going to college to study political science and hopefully not flunk out.
Jake Pfeiffer
Jake Pfeiffer, Editor-in-Chief
Jake Pfeiffer is a senior, entering his third year on the Central Times staff, this time as Editor-in-Chief. Jake joined CT as a sophomore because he wanted to write news, but since then he has grown to love just about every element of journalism. While it is rare to see Jake anywhere other than the CT office, occasionally you can find him captaining Central’s debate team, watching baseball, listening to a seemingly endless amount of podcasts or drowning in college applications.
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