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Going Above and Beyond to Find Opportunities

Posted June 11, 2020

In January, history teacher Ben Rangel discovered the opportunity for students to earn college credits by taking an AP Government test. Based on student performance in the standard government class, Mr. Rangel explored AP standards and was pleased to discover many students would be capable of passing the AP exam. After connecting with the AP team at Cristo Rey, Mr. Rangel and 11 students collaborated to create a plan of action and went to work – meeting outside of regular school hours, adding about two to four hours of additional work each week.

They didn’t let the fact that there isn’t even an AP Government class stop them from working to achieve their goal.

Cristo Rey Jesuit Senior, Yesenia G., participated in the AP Government test knowing she would need to invest her free time. Yesenia shared, “I had a lot on my plate, but I really just wanted to see how much I could handle, but also expand my knowledge”. 

Mr. Rangel encouraged students to ask questions and to be active participants to make the most of this opportunity. Students took practice quizzes and deepened their knowledge. They were encouraged to think critically as they read additional materials and completed writing prompts. Yesenia noted the transition from in-person to virtual classes was smooth, Mr. Rangel provided her and fellow classmates with several resources and practice assignments necessary for test preparation. Students found time for studying and were personally accountable for their individual action.

When Yesenia was asked about the difficulties in test preparation and how she balanced her additional responsibilities, she said, “It all came down to time management, getting ahead in other classes in order to focus on the AP government test”. 

Mr. Rangel witnessed remarkable student commitment because the students studied outside of school hours. Even though their work wasn’t graded, Mr. Rangel’s favorite aspect of this test preparation experience was reading student work. He was so impressed with how much the students knew despite not being in a formal AP Government class. 

This is just one more example of CRJ students embracing our values of being open to growth and intellectually competent by challenging themselves academically. They can be proud of their active participation in their education and embracing the trailblazer attitude. Based on the efforts of Mr. Rangel and the 11 students, CRJ will begin offering an AP Government class as a formal offering this fall!

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