Paul Cuffee Upper School Expands Advanced Placement Course Selection


AP Spanish students Linda Orellana and Maria Woel prepare to draw a word map of a new vocabulary word.

Not a word of English is spoken in Ms. Ng Duran’s Advanced Placement (AP) Spanish class. The students from grades 10, 11 and 12 busy themselves with the day’s learning target: learning vocabulary words which are derived from Greek and Latin roots.  The curriculum was designed by Ms. Ng Duran and approved by the AP sponsor, the College Board, after a rigorous application and review process, ensuring that the curriculum meets the high national academic standards for AP courses.  

Now in its second year at the Upper School, the AP curriculum has been broadened such that AP Spanish, English, Biology and Psychology are offered to students who qualify.  In the 2016-2017 academic year, the plan is to add AP U.S. Government and Politics, AP Studio Art, AP Statistics and ultimately AP Capstone – a College Board sponsored program that provides students with the core academic skills such as research, writing and collaboration that are necessary for success in college.

All AP students take the AP test at the end of the year.  Scoring 3 out of 5 is considered “passing” and colleges determine whether a score of 3, 4 or 5 will qualify students for credits already achieved and allow the students to save time and money by registering for more advanced courses once they matriculate at the college or university.  Last spring saw 12 AP Spanish students achieving 3’s, 4’s or 5’s and 2 AP English students achieving a 3 and a 4.

Sophomore Linda Orellana, an AP Spanish student, commented, “Ms. Ng Duran tapped me for AP Spanish, after I achieved honors in her class freshman year.  Besides liking the way Ms. Ng Duran teaches, I will improve my college application by taking AP courses.”

Principal Celeste Terry-Lo is excited to be offering more AP courses next year.  “It’s all about giving kids options and opening doors for them.”


Average Class Size: 20
Current Enrollment: 820
Students of Color: 96%
Female Students: 51%
Male Students: 49%
Free/Reduced Price Lunch Eligibility: 82%
Multi-Language Learners: 19%
Students Receiving Special Education Services: 13%
Total Employees: 168
BIPOC: 45%
Female Employees: 75%
Male Employees: 25%