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Natomas High School Chosen to Offer AP Diploma Program

Natomas High School has been chosen to augment its strong Advanced Placement Program into a nationally renowned diploma program, AP Capstone, that will enable students to earn college credits while acquiring key critical thinking and analytical skills valued by America’s top colleges and universities.

The Nighthawks’ selection for the relatively new diploma program, offered by only one other high school in the Sacramento region, will help students prepare for 21st century careers through rigorous multi-curricular studies supported by Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Baylor, UC Berkeley, UCLA and dozens of other colleges and universities.

The timing of today’s announcement comes shortly after nine Natomas High School students won AP Scholar Awards for exceptional achievement on AP exams: Angel Hernandez, Kanwalprit Bagri, Dylan Chima Sanchez, Emma Colombo, Trevor Gomez, Marilyn Gonzalez, Alexandro Guerrero, Roland Herbert, and Beili Huang.

Superintendent Chris Evans said the AP Capstone Diploma Program will begin next school year, and the district will commit additional resources to ensure a top-notch program.

“This is sensational news that takes our AP program to the next level, offering an entire diploma program recognizing students who pass some of the most challenging curriculum offered at the high school level,” Evans said. “AP Capstone is a nationally recognized diploma program that gives students a head start in both college admissions and credits.”

To graduate with an AP Capstone Diploma, Natomas High students must pass four existing Advanced Placement (AP) courses and two newly created linchpins of the diploma program, AP Seminar and AP Research, designed to provide students with key research, teamwork, communication and analytical skills needed for college and career.

The launch of AP Capstone at Natomas High will give Natomas Unified renowned diploma programs at each of its high schools. Inderkum High currently offers the International Baccalaureate Program.

AP courses have been offered for years at Natomas High, but never before have they been packaged into a comprehensive diploma program recognized by top colleges and universities nationwide.

Here’s how academically rigorous the AP Seminar and AP Research programs will be:

  1. AP Seminar, targeted for 10th or 11th graders, will engage teens in a cross-curricular exploration of academic and real-world topics. Students will investigate topics from multiple perspectives; gather and analyze information from various sources; develop evidence-based arguments; collaborate in teams; and communicate using appropriate media. The course will involve both a team project and individual research, the latter culminating in a 2,000-word essay and 6- to 8-minute presentation.
  2. AP Research, to be taken after the seminar class, will require students to complete a 4,000- to 5,000-word academic paper and present an oral defense on a research question of their choosing. Students will learn to synthesize information; explain their research method; analyze and interpret evidence; develop a cogent argument based evidence-based reasoning; reflect on the implications and limitations of their research; document their inquiry process; and acknowledge and cite sources.

The AP Capstone Diploma Program is an ideal fit for Natomas Unified, which has been recognized as an AP Honor Roll District by the College Board. The honor goes to a limited number of school districts nationwide that simultaneously increases access to AP courses while improving the passage rate on AP Exams.

The launch of the AP Capstone Diploma Program at Natomas High is consistent with the District’s Board-approved Vision that, “All NUSD students graduate as college and career ready, productive, responsible, and engaged global citizens.”



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