Return to Headlines

Pocono Mountain East & West High Schools approved to offer the prestigious AP Capstone Diploma Program

POCONO MOUNTAIN SCHOOL DISTRICT, Swiftwater, Pa. – Pocono Mountain School District is proud to announce its two high schools were approved by the College Board to implement the prestigious Capstone Diploma program.


The PM East and West High Schools join approximately 1,800 schools worldwide to implement this skills-focused and innovative diploma program offered by the College Board. AP Capstone is a diploma program based on two yearlong AP Courses: AP Seminar and AP Research. The courses are designed to complement other AP courses the Capstone student may take.


“We are very proud our two high schools were approved to offer the AP Capstone Diploma program to our students,” said Dr. Catherine Sweeney, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction. “The innovative AP Capstone Diploma program offers flexible student-centered curricula with the room for student creativity and input to prepare a broader, more diverse student population for college and beyond.


Pocono Mountain students who score a 3 or higher in AP Seminar and AP Research and on four additional AP Exams of their choosing earn the AP Capstone Diploma. This signifies outstanding academic achievement and attainment of college-level academic and research skills. Students who score a 3 or higher in both AP Seminar and AP Research (but not on four additional AP Exams) earn the AP Seminar and Research Certificate.


In AP Seminar, typically taken in 10th or 11th grade, students choose and evaluate complex topics through multiple lenses; identify credibility and bias in sources; and develop arguments in support of a recommendation. AP Seminar is a project-based learning course. Official AP Seminar assessments include research reports, written arguments, and presentations completed during the academic year. Students complete the course by taking an end-of-course written exam in May.


In the subsequent AP Research course, students design, execute, present, and defend a yearlong research-based investigation on a topic of individual interest. They build on skills developed in AP Seminar by learning how to understand research methodology; employ ethical research practices; and collect, analyze, and synthesize information to contribute to academic research. Like AP Seminar, AP Research is a project-based course. Each student’s official AP Research score is based on their academic paper, presentation, and oral defense. There’s no end-of-course exam for AP Research.


“Adding this diploma program to our already robust offering of 22 AP courses available to our East and West High School students will give our students a distinct advantage when they enter college, as they will have access to even more challenging coursework and be able to sharpen their reading and writing skills.”


The College Board requires teachers to complete additional professional development prior to teaching the AP Seminar and AP Research courses.  Pocono Mountain will begin offering the AP Seminar course in 2020-2021 and the AP Research course in 2021-2022