Learn more about current school issues and trends from Sanford School’s educational experts.  Sanford’s blog is sure to help you navigate your child’s educational journey.

Lynn Casto

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Lynn Casto is the former Head of Upper School at Sanford School, a private school in Hockessin, Delaware.

Recent Posts

Benefits of an Advanced Placement (AP) curriculum

Posted by Lynn Casto on November 11, 2016 at 5:01 PM

When selecting high schools, multiple factors weigh into a family’s decision: size, location, the strength of the program, and programmatic choice, to name a few. The presence of an Advanced Placement (AP) curriculum within a high school signals a respected level of educational excellence. AP courses offer rigorous college-level content within a secondary school setting.

A school with an AP program may provide many benefits to students and families: 

  • Students develop the habits of mind and skills required to be successful in college courses while still in high school.
  • In-depth study of a particular field often leads to students discovering a passion and pursuing that field as a major in college.
  • College admissions officers often view students who score well on AP exams as being more prepared than those who have not experienced AP to handle college-level academics thus predicting a higher rate of success in college.
  • Students within the AP program are viewed by college admissions officers as hard-working, and self-motivated.
  • AP provides a standard measure by which students applying to college can be compared. Students can distinguish themselves within an elite group of students.
  • Students who score well on AP exams may receive college credit for their high school coursework.
  • With enough credits accumulated through AP, some students are able to graduate a semester or a year early, decreasing college expenses for families.
  • Earning introductory college credit through AP credits may open room in a student’s schedule that would allow the pursuit of elective courses in an area of interest or room for a minor study.

The AP designation offers a benchmark for academic excellence and teacher professional development. For a school to offer the AP designation, the teachers of the course must complete the audit process and be approved by the College Board. Schools must provide adequate resources to AP students and professional development to AP teachers. In addition, the teacher’s content must be approved by the College Board in order to be authorized to use the AP designation.

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Topics: College Guidance, Academics, High School Experience

Art Makes Kids Smart

Posted by Lynn Casto on December 8, 2015 at 3:00 PM

Ask art teachers about the superstars in their classrooms; they will report that their students are the smartest kids on campus. Research supports these claims. Student involvement in the arts— whether theatre, dance, music, or visual—develops skills linked to improved performance in other disciplines. These include:

  • Reading acquisition
  • Phonological awareness
  • Sequence learning
  • Long-term and working memory
  • Spatial relationship
  • Student motivation
  • Observation.

However, the need to quantify the value of art education in relation to alternate academic disciplines is flawed and predicated on recent trends cutting the arts in favor of targeted teaching to standardized tests.

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Topics: Education, Arts