The AP Cambridge Capstone program, commonly referred to as simply the Capstone program, at Barbara Goleman Senior High School, has received praise from the College Board which has credited it as a "flagship school," a model for other schools to emulate.
The Capstone program is still a fairly new program with only 20 participating schools worldwide, four of them in Miami-Dade County. Up until now the Capstone program, which requires a year long introductory course, followed by three Advanced Placement courses and a research project including a 25 page thesis, has only accepted sophomores.
Beginning for the 2014-2015 school year, Goleman is now accepting freshman student applications for placement in the program. This opportunity, which the administration has quickly learned has not fallen on deaf ears after mounting applications poured in, is limited.
"We have the honor of having a program that has advanced a tremendous amount of success in a short amount of time," said Goleman principal Joaquin Hernandez.
Only 100 spaces are available for incoming freshman and as of early December, over half of those spaces were filled. The administration urges parents to inquire and fill out the necessary documentation needed for their child to be considered for the upcoming school year. There are no area boundaries to apply. A pool of diverse students is preferable and as such, all students are welcome to apply.
"We want it to be all-inclusive. We want recruited students including recent immigrants and special needs students," said Hernandez.
The success the program has brought participating students has inspired many younger students to apply. Many students that are currently in the Capstone program have surpassed the requirements and have also dual-enrolled with Miami-Dade College for additional college credits.
"We have moved from seven kids in dual enrollment to over 100 with 16 of those being juniors maintaining perfect unweighted GPA's," said Hernandez.
Success in the program has not come solely from students' hard work, but the teachers and parents who invest time into molding motivated students. The Seminar AP teacher for the Capstone program, Maria Elbano, has had so much success in her classes, she has been selected by program coordinators to travel to New York City for additional training so she can train other Seminar AP teachers for similar success.
"The kids amaze me and the reason why is because they're surrounded by intelligence," Hernandez said. "They're on the positive side of peer pressure. What are you able to do when there are endless possibilities? I don't think they see any boundaries. It's amazing when you tell a child that they can succeed, they believe it."
Students completing their 25 page thesis can also use it as part of the college application process for universities that request samples of written work, providing yet another leg-up for college admission.
To submit an application for the AP Cambridge Capstone program for incoming freshmen and sophomores, contact the school at 305-362-0676.