New College Credit Courses Proposed at BSM


Ella Adams

Moni Berg-Binder who will be teaching AP biology next school year.

BSM has a new college credit option for the next school year. AP Biology will be the only new class that will be offered in the 2023-2024 school year. AP African American Studies and CIS: Climate Crisis-Implementing Solutions were other new options, but will no longer be offered because of a lack of students interested. These classes are formed for students who are willing to challenge themselves at a college level.

CIS: Climate Crisis-Implementing Solutions would have been co-taught by Moni Berg Binder (Science) & Miller (Engineering). Berg-Binder described what the structure of the class would have looked like and why students may have enjoyed the class. “It’s a college in schools course so it focuses a lot on solutions to the climate crisis so there was going to be a strong piece of engineering and what humans can do to try and tackle and counter the issue which is a climate crisis. um and then my component was going to be the biology side. I’m trained in conservation biology and so Mr. Miller and I had this vision for adding in the piece to make sure our students understood why we should be concerned about the climate crisis from a threat of biodiversity perspective and the value of biodiversity,” Berg Binder said. 

AP African American Studies is an AP course with multiple different aspects of history and English. Mrs. Vroman explained what the layout of this class would have looked like and the overall topics of the class. “It starts [with] history and some geography in Africa, then the diaspora in the slave trade, and then the United States. From that point onward, I think pretty much US history with a focus obviously on the stories of African Americans. There’s a good chunk of African American literature, so it’s not a history course. It’s not a literature course. It’s multiple disciplines embedded. The bulk of it is history, or social science because you have that huge chunk of history, but there’s a big chunk of Lit. there,” Vroman said.  

Vroman adds that the course doesn’t just have one specific focus, it has a few topics intertwined together. “A fair amount of African art is embedded within the curriculum. And then when you get into the 20th century, you get into some almost sociological issues within it. So it’s a bunch of different things, which I think [would] make it a dynamic course and a pretty interesting course for students,” Vroman said. 

Finally, AP Biology will be taught next year by Berg-Binder. This class will be for students who are willing to challenge themselves at a college level. Berg Binder explained what this class will look like for students that decide to take the class. “AP Bio is going to be about biology. So take your topics in biology right? And it’s going to be a survey of all these topics in biology. So what does that look like for a student at BSM? Well, think about the topics that students may have taken an honors biology or biology course, AP Biology explores those but at that college level, so taking it up to an even higher level, and then preparing students for the AP exam,” Berg Binder said. 

Because AP African American Studies and CIS: Climate Crisis -Implementing Solutions are extremely new classes at Benilde St. Margarets, many students do not know about them or haven’t heard much about them which causes the lack of students to sign up. Vroman explains some reasons why students may not have signed up for these classes. “Well, I think there’s a number of things at play here. I think anytime the first time a course runs it, there’s often a little bit of a problem with gaining momentum on it, you can go back to a couple other courses that we’ve offered here and the first year sometimes can be a little lower traction to get going,” Vroman said. 

Vroman explains the main reason students are likely to have not signed up for the African American Studies class is because it doesn’t offer college credit. Students have the workload of a college class yet don’t get any credit. “I think one of the major reasons is that students probably can tell you more than me, but from my perspective there’s no possibility of earning college credit next year because it’s piloted. They’re not offering a test. So you do all this work for an AP class, and then there’s no test so there’s no college credit. So I think that played a pretty big role in it actually,” Vroman said.