Advanced Topics now open to all sophomores

Reversing his prior decision, chemistry teacher Alan Beamer is offering his Advanced Topics class after all and opening it to any interested sophomores.

The class has been meeting every Friday since Feb. 1 from 7:30-8:15 a.m. to teach extra material not covered in sophomore chemistry.

But unlike the past two years, Beamer isn’t teaching the class—he “could not sacrifice a Friday morning” since this year he also teaches Honors Geometry .

Instead, two of Beamer’s teaching assistants, seniors Taylor Oeschger and Imani Ritchards, are instructing it to relieve Beamer’s workload.

Now instead of setting up labs, Oeschger and Ritchards spend elective periods planning lectures and writing assignments for the class.

They rehearse their lectures with Beamer, and he supervises their teaching, but they “still have creative control,” Oeschger said.

Beamer is pleased the class is back on, as the sophomore chemistry class as a whole is lagging behind.

“We really need to move ahead so the AP students don’t start out behind next year,” he said.

And sophomores are showing interest—16 are currently taking Advanced Topics, more than in prior years.

“Because the class has been slowed down so much, more people are getting bored and feel like they can handle more,” Oeschger said.

Other sophomores may be attracted by the grade boost—students in Advanced Topics are graded on a 12-point scale, meaning 88 percent is an A-. In exchange, they face additional problems on homework and tests.

Unlike prior years, Advanced Topics is open to anyone who wants to try it.

“If students start getting C’s and D’s on their tests consistently, I’ll suggest to them to concentrate on the basic material,” Beamer said.

“But that’s by no means kicking them out—they can always make the decision.”

Beamer introduced Advanced Topics before the final, giving interested students additional materials to learn and including the information on their fourth test and final exam.

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