Students designing their assignments. Photo by Matthew McCarthy and Zach Curtis.

Students designing their assignments. Photo by Matthew McCarthy and Zach Curtis.

Chaparral offers a multitude of Advanced Placement classes for all of Chaparral’s students to take. These classes range from history classes like AP U.S. Government to elective courses like AP Studio Art.  31 AP classes were offered at Chaparral this year, but some are very advanced and have a small number of students. AP Graphic design is one of these classes, as that an average of only 12 to 15 students take the class each year. Many of the students have taken at least three classes of Graphic Design, some four. The year long AP Graphic Design is different from many AP classes with the amount of concentration and creativity required. Students don’t have daily assignments, but they are required to complete 12 Concentrations and 12 Breadth’s by the end of the year. Concentrations are specific Graphic design pieces, but students can choose how they want to approach their concentrations. “For AP, students must work on a Concentration, that means they must concentrate on one particular kind of design or idea. This could be logo design or album covers. One year I had a student do posters dealing with child abuse and neglect. Last year I had a couple students design logos for Olympics in cities that they chose,” said teacher Jeremy Kamm. Breadth’s are assignments that is another approach to design, usually other types of design the students have experience in. These twenty four assignments complete a students portfolio, which they submit at the end of the year to the college board instead of taking an AP exam. But, the students have the freedom to choose what they want to concentrate on, and what their Breadth’s will be, and have the luxury of the free time in class every day to complete these assignments by the end of the year. There is lots and lots of individual work. By the time my students reach AP Graphic Design they are on their own in the sense that they have a lot of work to do and a certain amount of time to do it. We will occasionally have critiques in which we will look at everyone’s work to help them see the weaknesses and strengths in their designs,” said Kamm. Jeremy Kamm, the teacher of all the Graphic Design classes, has been teaching AP Graphic Design specifically for 14 years. Students in all AP classes are graded on a different grading scale administered by the AP board. The scale is from a 1 to a 5, and a 3,4, and 5 are passing scores. “I have had no one get lower than a 3 and the vast majority get a 4 or 5,” said Kamm.  Cooper Bisset, a student in the class spoke about what he likes about the class and his concentration for the year: designing album covers. “The freedom is great, most other classes there are specific assignments, specific due dates, and you’re limited by the assignments, but here I can do whatever I want every day,” said Bisset. Although AP Graphic Design has a significant amount of work to do throughout the year, if you’re interested in the freedom and creativity to design what you want, begin taking Graphic Design to have the possibility of taking the advanced class.

Story by Matthew McCarthy and Zach Curtis

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