NP3’s AP Seminar students and teacher share delightful experiences with the class.

Hadia Ahmad, Natomas Pacific Pathways Preparatory

Erik Jones has been the Natomas Pacific Pathways Prep (NP3) High School’s Advanced Placement Seminar teacher for four years. The open-ended, interdisciplinary course allows students to earn college credit while learning how to conduct research on the topics of their choice.

“AP seminar is a content-agnostic class,” Jones said, “meaning the content is really driven by students whose aim is to learn research and argumentation.”

That makes the class unique, said Jones – and potentially formative for students. 

“I think that seminar has the potential to be the single most important class that you take in high school, if what you want to do is go on to a university, because most of your university work is going to be reading, research, and writing, developing and presenting argumentation,” he said. “That is what a university system really demands of you in terms of critical thinking, and the ability to coherently put that thinking into writing.”

Students agree about the importance of the class.  

“It wasn’t another content class that I was gonna take and throw away once I’m done. It was like learning skills that I will use in the future,” said NP3 Senior Nicholas Korvink, who took the class in 2020. 

Rachel Long, an NP3 senior who took also AP Seminar in 2020, said, “Just the amount of analytical thinking and like philosophical reasoning and depth that Mr. Jones goes into is so important and asking questions and why to all of your arguments to make sure there are no holes or any missing parts to anything that you’re doing.”

NP3 senior Alina Susu said she was inspired by Jones to minor in psychology in the future after learning about the discipline through AP Seminar and AP Research.

“AP seminar was my favorite class,”Susu said. “It was very enlightening and in the beginning we started by having discussions on current issues which were very enlightening and then delved into tasks. It’s very interesting to learn about topics you may not have known about beforehand.”

AP Seminar has helped students use skills such as critical thinking, teamwork, and conducting research which can be useful in the future such as college.