AP Boot Camp paves way for freshmen success

Though the first day of class­es in Quakertown Community School District doesn’t begin until August 30th, approx­i­mate­ly 37 incom­ing fresh­men have been par­tic­i­pat­ing in the district’s first AP Boot Camp this week. The three-day ses­sion is for stu­dents inter­est­ed in tak­ing AP Human Geography. Though only fresh­men, sev­er­al are tak­ing addi­tion­al AP cours­es in 2021–22.

The chal­leng­ing college-level course explains how humans have under­stood, used, and changed the sur­face of the earth. Students will use the tools and think­ing process­es of geo­g­ra­phers to exam­ine pat­terns of human pop­u­la­tion, migra­tion, and land use.

The main thing we’re try­ing to do is pre­pare stu­dents for the chal­lenge that awaits them on August 30th,” said Sean Burke, who teach­es the Advanced Placement course. “We’re explain­ing to them what the course is about and how to be suc­cess­ful.” He said it’s not sim­ply lin­ear his­to­ry. Instead, it’s the­mat­ic, “which is very dif­fer­ent from what they’re used to,” he said.

Students attend­ing the Boot Camp will work on strength­en­ing their aca­d­e­m­ic foun­da­tions and refin­ing their advanced learn­ing skills. Mr. Burke said the focus will be on team build­ing, time man­age­ment, AP lev­el read­ing and note tak­ing skills. “The idea is to pre­pare them for tak­ing an AP course for the first time in their high school career,” he said.

Mr. Burke also had for­mer stu­dents — Riley Mann, Phillip Rotzell and Julia Witte — attend to dis­cuss their expe­ri­ences in the class a year ago.

It’s a pret­ty chal­leng­ing course for fresh­men, but also nec­es­sary before tak­ing oth­er advanced class­es,” said Riley, who added that going from mid­dle school to high school is “a big leap. Human Geography can be intim­i­dat­ing but I do rec­om­mend it because it does tie into everything.”

Phillip said “ it was my most dif­fi­cult class last year, but also the one that I learned the most.

… It explains the rea­sons every­thing hap­pens in the world.”

Superintendent Dr. Bill Harner advo­cates for stu­dents to take advan­tage of the high school’s 28 diverse AP course offer­ings. “There is no bet­ter way as a new high school stu­dent with aspi­ra­tions to be suc­cess­ful in col­lege than to take AP Human Geography,” he said. “By per­form­ing the work to pass the college-level course, stu­dents learn the habits nec­es­sary to suc­ceed in high school. It also opens up oppor­tu­ni­ties in col­lege admis­sions and pre­dic­tive­ly pre­pares you to com­plete your col­lege expe­ri­ence in four years, which only half of America’s stu­dents accomplish.”