Chaparral has over 20 different AP classes ranging from history classes such as AP U.S. History to AP Language and Composition. But, starting next year, Chaparral will have its first AP technology class: AP Computer Science A.The class is equivalent to a first-semester, college-level course in computer science and teaches students how to design and implement computer programs and programing tools at an advanced level. Students must take Intro to Computer Science before taking the AP class to be introduced into the vast world of Computer Science. “The class will have 25 students next year”, said Josh Heintzelman, the teacher of the class. Heintzelman brought the class to Chaparral as he wanted to offer a more advanced class for his best computer science students. Heintzelman strongly encourages every student to at least take one computer science class at Chaparral. “I want the students to know that CS is the largest driver of all STEM jobs. Every student should take a CS course to find out if it's something that they might like,” said Heintzelman. Computer Science is a big field to get included in and pays nearly $60,000-$100,000 per year. The class is designed to prep students to take the AP Computer Science AP Test in May as many AP classes do the same. But, one aspect of the class is different than many other AP classes as students must include a minimum of 20 hours of hands-on structured lab experiences. In these labs students “design solutions to problems, express their solutions in programming language, test their solutions, identify and correct errors, and compare possible solutions.” according to the class handbook. Also, because the class is a computer science class, students use the Java programming language as their main programming language for all of the material in the class. As mentioned earlier, students will take the AP Computer Science A AP test in May. The test is scored on a scale of 1-5 and grades of 3 and above are considered passing grades to give students college credit for computer science courses they may take. The test is 3 hours long and consists of a multiple choice section with 40 questions and a free response section with 4 questions. In the free response section, students answer the questions by solving problems with code. Both sections are each individually worth 50% of the total grade for the test, and are each 1 ½ hours long. If interested in a career in Computer Science or Technology, and/or want to learn a valuable skill that can turn into a career, then signing up for Intro to Computer Science is definitely the class for you. If you want to proceed in the class and want to start developing a possible career pathway, then AP Computer Science A is the class for you.
Story by Matthew McCarthy and Zach Curtis