Back from lockdown, AP classes are feeling the effects


Amber Gale

The AP Endeavor. As we continue with the 2021-2022 school year, the AP textbooks pile high for classes such as AP Biology and AP US History. After a year online, students must adapt back to life on campus and to their APs. For some, this has been a struggle. “The pandemic enabled kids to learn how to cut corners and that has really affected their learning and their work ethic now that we are back in person,” AP Biology teacher Cody Foster said.

Amber Gale, Staff Writer

This year at Buena, Advanced Placement [AP] classes have been impacted by the strains of the pandemic on students and teachers. Students are more reluctant to join and stay in AP classes, and teachers are feeling the effects of burnout and doubt. 

AP classes are optional classes that certain students choose to take as a Sophomore, Junior or Senior. These classes are particularly challenging and time consuming as they match the pace and difficulty of a college course. Due to the pandemic, the past few years have caused students to fall behind and struggle to keep up with these classes.

Senior Kevin Cox commented that over the course of the pandemic he lost his motivation and work ethic. He discussed the difficulties of learning online and how that has caused him to no longer want to be involved in AP classes. 

“One of the reasons I dropped AP was because of my AP Lang class which was really hard to do online. It’s hard to get help for essays and [learn] how to analyze pieces of writing from a computer, ” Cox said. “I was just fed up with AP classes and I wanted to stop”. 

AP Language and AP Literature teacher Kelly Hererra discussed many of the same feelings and difficulties when it came to giving feedback on essays. Now that we are back in person, she finds it easier to give direct feedback. However, she has noticed a trend of students lacking confidence which then translates into many students giving up rather than trying to persevere.

“I think that some of the students that are dropping … aren’t giving themselves a fair shot,” Herrera said. “They don’t realize that the AP teachers all want them to be successful and have so much support built in to help them be successful with tutoring, being available after school, BARK classes and genuinely want them to succeed. All of the AP teachers have been teaching for so long and it’s heartbreaking when we see kids drop”. 

Furthermore, COVID-19 has affected the amount of students who have applied to these courses. Some teachers and administrators have noticed a decline in applications. 

Assistant principal Tiffany Dyer commented that the “numbers are lower” as a “reflection of the loss of academic skills.” She has heard from students that they feel as though during online school last year they did not learn as much.

According to data provided by Student Data technician Deborah Dryden, in semester onof the 2019 school year, there was a total school enrollment in AP classes of 37%. In 2020 it was 36%, and in 2021 it increased to 47%. However, now in the 2021-2022 school year, the enrollment has dropped back down to 37%. Although the current overall class applications do not demonstrate a significant drop from a typical year, it is telling that enrollment in AP classes has decreased by about 10% as compared to 2020-2021.

Cody Foster believes that the pandemic has deterred many students who might have potentially taken AP. He believes that this trend may potentially continue and affect future generations of students. 

“I am anticipating, in the next two or three years, to have fewer kids in AP because so many kids are having to retake those base classes,” Foster said.

Not only has the pandemic affected students, it has also had an adverse effect on teachers. Many teachers are struggling to stay motivated and mentally healthy following an unparalleled year of stress, anxiety and fear of the future. 

“The pandemic has really really really been hard on a lot of teachers and support staff, both physically and mentally,” Foster said.  “It’s hard being told to constantly take care of ourselves, but also take care of 40 kids in a classroom”.