Could FHS Be Introducing a New AP?


Current Social Studies APs offered at FHS include AP Psychology and AP United States Government and Politics. Photographer: Katie Barrow

AP African American Studies began its pilot in 60 schools this year, and is set to being offered at schools for the 2024-2025 school year. Its units include “Origins of the African Diaspora,” “Freedom, Enslavement and Resistance,” “The Practice of Freedom,” and “Movements and Debates.” 

These topics are similar to the ones covered in a current social studies course at FHS, Race in American Society, taught by Mr. Perkins. 

Faith Ballarino, a senior at FHS, took Race in American Society last year, and shared that the course was “sensitive to other people’s points of view.” In order to build this sense of empathy for others’ experiences, the class does not shy away from topics like race riots and police brutality. Even though these are difficult conversations to have, Faith explained that it was “taught in a really digestible way.”

She describes topics on economic and social racial injustice as “incredibly necessary to learn about so we can fix it.” Faith expressed her concern for Florida’s government’s efforts to diminish the teaching of race in schools, such as its “Stop Woke Act”, because it is “censoring what people can learn and the information they have access to.” This is a “form of control because the government doesn’t want people to try to fix it.” 

Never been more in the news…getting publicity, getting attention, getting respect.

— Mr. McCarthy

Mr. McCarthy, the head of the social studies department at FHS, explained how Race in American Society serves as a stepping stone to potentially introduce AP African American Studies as a new course. Future department meetings next year will propose this class to teachers who may be interested in teaching it. 

In the meantime, Mr. McCarthy encourages more enrollment in Race in American Society. He pointed out that “the interest is totally there,” with the high level of student involvement in clubs like Diversity Awareness. Topics of racial injustice have “never been more in the news…getting publicity, getting attention, getting respect.” He urges students interested in racial justice and activism outside of school to bring this same level of enthusiasm in the classroom. 

If you are interested in taking Race in American Society next year, you can talk to your guidance counselor about fitting it into your schedule.