AP Euro and AP Micro: What, How, and Why?

Steven Orland, Staff Writer

As Ward Melville students begin to select and choose their courses for next year, two particular classes may capture their attention. Both within the social studies department, AP European History and AP Microeconomics are returning to classrooms. While the courses have not been offered in over a decade, the classes’ popularity and value are hoped to stay.  

Based on a premise of student requests, AP Euro is considered an elective whose availability is “all based on the number of students who sign up,” says history teacher Ms. Riggio. Even though it’s a college-level course, the class aims to make learning European history an experience, rather than a burdensome task. “It’s … a little different in the sense that it’s student-centered and research-focused.  We think kids would enjoy it more, approaching [it] in a 21st century way,” says Dr. Gold, Social Studies K-12 Director. 

The course will focus on specifics regarding European history within a 600-year period of time and include standard practices of AP courses. “It will cover from the Renaissance to the 21st Century.  It will focus on projects, research and writing,” says Riggio. Making a revival from a 15-year dormancy, AP Euro intends to attract students of all academic levels.  

“We don’t want to be a department who caters only to AP students – we want students to take classes because they’re fun and interesting,” Gold continues. AP Euro is specifically designed to be “equivalent to a Western Civilization II course in college,” Riggio says, but is one of many electives hoping to capture students’ interest next year.  

Incorporating math and business principles into the curriculum, AP Microeconomics has “kind of come back … we haven’t offered that in maybe a dozen years,” Gold says. Appealing to those interested in high-level economics, the half-year course will discuss key concepts of the field. “It deals with analyses and production; it looks at big ideas in production and scarcity,” says Gold. However, some interested in economics may not find enjoyment at the AP caliber.

“The social studies department offers electives for all students. While APs are important, what’s just as important is that we offer electives for students who don’t want them on an AP level,” Gold continues. This class will join the near-20 advanced placement courses offered by Melville next year. The electives not only pose an opportunity for enrichment but enjoyment for students and teachers both.

While AP classes pose challenging material and a fast pace for students and teachers both, these courses, particularly AP Euro, are looking to stand out. “I hope to make it an interesting and enjoyable class,” Riggio says. “I am looking forward to teaching it again.” Like AP Microeconomics, this history course is available to all students, who may be the backbone of these classes’ availability.

“We’re trying to listen to the voices of students,” Gold says. Over the years, AP social studies electives like these have come and gone, but future popularity remains to be seen. “How often it will be available to students will depend on enrollment,” says Riggio. By next year, at least, AP European History and Microeconomics are classes hoping to attract students of all grade levels and abilities.