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Unified School District of De Pere

AP Capstone Students Update School Board on Research Projects

What is AP Capstone?

The AP Capstone Diploma program was developed based on input from higher education faculty and administrators, seeking rising sophomores and juniors proficient in critical thinking and communications. The program challenges students to analyze different perspectives, evaluate the credibility of sources, use scholarly methods, build evidence-based arguments, work in teams, work with mentors, and develop and deliver team and individual presentations. 

What Are De Pere Students Researching?

Students in AP Research select a topic, then are challenged to find a gap in existing research on that topic. Their mission for the year: fill the gap by conducting their own defensible, high-quality research. 

During the Dec. 6 meeting of the Unified School District of De Pere's Board of Education, 3 current AP Capstone students described their year two projects, and answered questions about why they chose to participate in the Capstone Diploma Program.

Sami L. is a junior who chose to research the impact of cinema on the stress levels of high school students.  “I believe many students are experiencing stress for different reasons,” she says. “Sometimes you’ll be advised to ‘watch a movie’ to relax.  But is that good advice? Can movies—for example comedies-- help reduce stress? Or do some movies actually contribute to it?”

Sami plans to survey students, and is working to connect with collegiate-level mentors to help identify other sources of data.

Calvin H. is researching the factors that lead high school athletes in northeast Wisconsin to quit sports.  “It’s interesting to me that some students who have been active in sports for years would decide to stop playing in high school,” he says. “Are they too busy with other commitments? Are they just burned out?” 

Along with De Pere High School students and staff, he plans to survey students from several other high schools in northeast Wisconsin. He hopes this data, combined with information from secondary sources, will lead to some answers.

Other De Pere students are studying a variety of topics.

  • Zoe Z. is assessing what Wisconsin students and teachers think about year-round school. 
  • Anna K. is diving into the impact of social media marketing on young adults. 
  • Izzy O. hopes to learn more about the effects of chronic stress on high school students’ cognitive processes.  
  • Patrick W. is exploring the impacts of smartphone addiction on students. 
  • Alicia B. is conducting research to determine the impact of soil composition on the flavor of maple syrup. 
  • Lauren S.  is designing a study that takes computer synthesized guinea fowl calls and implementing them into their naturalistic environment to redefine their home range, making it easier for farmers to raise them in the US. 

Why AP Capstone?

Students have different reasons for committing to the 2-year program, including:

  • Developing key academic skills they’ll use in college and beyond
  • Having the opportunity to study in depth a topic about which they are deeply interested
  • Becoming more self-confident, independent thinkers and problem solvers
  • Earning college credit: many colleges offer credit for qualifying scores


Like and follow our Facebook, Instagram (@unifiedschooldistofdepere) and Twitter channels for updates on our students’ projects.