Armstrong High School

Family Preview Night 2017

Musical Prelude

Armstrong High School Chamber Singers

Stephanie Trump, Director


  • Armstrong is named after astronaut Neil Armstrong, who on July 20, 1969 became the first person to walk on the moon.

  • Armstrong’s school colors are red, white and blue.

  • Armstrong’s mascot is a falcon.


  • In what year was Armstrong’s first graduating class?
  • Answer: 1971

  • The first graduating class had 550 students
  • We currently have about 2000 students enrolled this year (9-12 grade)


  • Armstrong High School produces graduates who have attended colleges across the country and around the world.

  • The Washington Post has consistently ranked Armstrong as one of the most challenging high schools in Minnesota as well as the country.


  • There are 35 clubs, groups and activities offered at Armstrong – not including interscholastic athletics.

  • This means there are many opportunities for students to get involved!

  • Ninth graders may take two music courses if they so choose.


  • Exchange students attend Armstrong every year to learn valuable high school experiences from abroad.

  • This year we have 10 students enrolled from 7 countries across the globe:
    • Italy
    • Mexico
    • Finland
    • France
    • Germany
    • Spain
    • Indonesia



  • Starting in the fall of 2010, the Falcons have been competing in the Northwest Suburban Conference.

  • Other schools in this conference include: Maple Grove, Park Center, Osseo, Champlin Park, Blaine, Coon Rapids, Andover, Anoka, Centennial, Elk River, Spring Lake Park, Irondale and Totino Grace.


  • We have many procedures in place to help ninth graders be successful high school students.

  • We have high academic expectations for all our students.

  • Commitment to Graduate - C2G

  • We are very glad you are here this evening. Please take time to ask us questions to learn more about this great school.

AP Coordinator Paul Dotter and AVID Coordinator Kate Fuller

Advanced Placement (AP) Information


Advancement Via Individual Determination

(AVID) Information

Advanced Placement
Armstrong High School

What is Advanced Placement?

  • AP is a College Board sponsored program where students take college level courses in high school.

  • Over 90% of colleges and universities accept satisfactory AP exam scores to grant credit, placement, or both.

Visit AP Collegeboard to see the Credit Policies of colleges and universities.

Does AP Really Work?

  • Better grades in college
  • Higher college graduation rates
  • More likely to finish in 4 years

Students are 80% more likely to finish college after taking an AP course in high school. Over 40% of all first-year college students do not finish their degree.

AP at Armstrong

  • More than 20 AP courses offered at AHS. AP Studio Art [2D & 3D] and AP Research are new for 2017-18.
  • 794 students took 1340 exams in 2017
  • 61% of exams earned scores of 3, 4, or 5.

Students are not expected or encouraged to take ALL AP courses at AHS. In fact, with 20 options, it is impossible for a student to fit all classes into their schedule even if they wanted to do so. AP is a cafeteria option meaning students should take classes based on their interests, abilities, schedule, drive, and time available for outside work. Therefore, some students might take just one AP course in their entire high school experience while others might take ten or more. The average AP student takes 1-2 Pre-AP courses in 9th grade, 1 AP course in 10th grade, 2 AP courses in 11th grade, and 3 AP courses in 12th grade.

AP Expectations

  • Commitment
  • Full Participation
  • Self-Initiative
  • Growth Mindset

There are no drops from AP Courses after June 1 because of how it affects staffing, class size, and ultimately student learning. Students are expected to take the AP exam if they register for an AP course (there is financial aid available so that financial need is not a barrier for a student in taking an AP class). Students are expected to make time for AP homework, ask teachers for help, and form study groups in order to master material and understanding of content.

AP Accolades

2017 -

  • 86 AP Scholars (3 or higher on 3 or more exams)
  • 44 AP Scholars with honor (3 or higher on 4 or more exams)
  • 59 AP Scholars with Distinction (3.5 or higher on 5 or more exams)
  • 8 National AP Scholars (4 or higher on 8 or more exams)

AP Capstone Diploma

  • New!
  • AP Seminar (grade 10 or 11)
  • AP Research (12th grade)
  • Four additional AP Exams

AP Capstone is a new initiative using the QUEST pedagogy (Question, Understand, Explore, Synthesize, Team). Students take AP Seminar and AP Research, earn a 3 or higher in each course, and a 3 or higher on four additional exams in order to earn a Capstone Diploma. Seminar is a course much like a first-year student Seminar class in a college: a student’s score in the class is determined by AP Seminar exam, group project, and individual project. The Research course is much like a research class for a thesis essay and the score in the class is determined by the students 4,000-5,000 word essay on a topic in addition to an oral defense of that topic. We will start with one cohort of this AP Seminar in 2016-2017. Students will need to apply and will be evaluated based on a written application, interview, teacher recommendation, grades, test scores, and prior coursework.

9th Grade Options

  • The following are available at AHS:

  • Pre-AP Human Geography

  • AP Environmental Science

  • Physical Science 9 will offer Pre-AP

credit if students meet certain


There is no AP test associated with Pre-AP Physical Science. Pre-AP Human Geography students may opt to take the AP Human Geography test if they wish (AP Human Geography is offered to 11th and 12th graders as an elective class). AP Environmental Science is a course that has typically been open only to 11-12th grade students, but 2 sections will be available to 9th graders. Taking the AP exam is expected for AP Environmental Science. English 9 is offered to all 9th graders but any 9th grader can earn the status of Pre-AP English 9 by completing key assignments to a high degree of success (as explained by English 9 teachers at the beginning of the school year). Space in any class is not guaranteed and students should indicate the rank of which class they want to get into 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. Space is limited by several factors including available teachers, labs and equipment, text books, and space. Our goal is to open access to AP and Pre-AP courses for as many students as possible. GPA, MAP test scores, prior coursework, and application response is a factor in placing students in any of the available classes for 9th grade. Students who are not accepted to AP Environmental Science will not be automatically placed in Pre-AP Physical Science and should be sure to list Pre-AP Physical Science as a 2nd or 3rd choice if they want to be considered for that class as well. You can access the application form at

10th-12th Grade Options

Physics B & C


US History

English Literature

English Language


US Government & Politics

Spanish Language

Spanish Literature

Environmental Science


Studio Art [2D & 3D]


Calculus AB and BC

Music Theory

World History

Human Geography



AP Seminar/AP Research

Computer Science A

making decisions about ap

Recommendations for AP classes:

9th grade: One AP/Pre-AP class is plenty!

10th grade: One, maybe two at the most. Would recommend a study hall, as well.

11th grade: Two or three AP classes at the most. Students with three or more, one always takes a backseat and derails GPA.

12th grade: Three, maybe more if student is motivated.



[L. avidus]: eager for knowledge


The Mission of AVID

AVID’s mission is to close the achievement gap by preparing all students for college readiness and success in a global society.


The AVID Program

AVID is for students who:

  • Earn A’s, B’s, and C’s in school
  • Want to go to college
  • Work hard
  • Need support with study and/or organization skills

AVID is a class that

meets every day for

4 years.

AVID students sign a contract stating they will maintain good grades, attendance, behavior, and participation, and will also participate in extracurricular activities, community service, and take at least one AP course before graduation.

The AVID Student Profile

Students with Academic Potential

  • Average to High Test Scores
  • 2.0-3.5 GPA
  • College Potential with Support
  • Desire and Determination

Meets One or More of

the Following Criteria

  • First Generation College Student
  • Students of Color
  • Low Income
  • Special Circumstances

foster care, loss of a parent, etc.

There are additional support systems and classes for students who want to go to college but do not meet the criteria for AVID, such as ATL or College Rocks.

A typical week in AVID

  • Two days of tutorials
  • Two days of AVID curriculum
    • Writing, reading, inquiry, organization and collaboration
  • Fun Friday
    • Guest speakers, college field trips, team building, etc.

Application timeline (AP/AVID)

  • High School Preview Night
  • November 15: All applications due to middle school guidance offices
  • November 27-December 1: AVID only interviews at the middle schools
  • December 7: AVID status letters mailed home
  • December 18-22: AP/Pre-AP status letters mailed home
  • Registration Information Night
    • AHS on Thursday, January 11th, 7:00 p.m.

If accepted to AP or AVID, it is assumed the student wants to be in the course. If this changes and the student does not wish to participate in AP or AVID they will need to contact Paul Dotter or Kate Fuller to request the course be dropped.

contact information

Katie Fuller:

AVID Coordinator


Paul Dotter:

AP Coordinator


Registration info is available in the AHS foyer and at the PMS and RMS guidance offices.


Ali Wilson A-Da

Sandy Murphy Db-H

Marilou Exner I-Mi

Jamie Dukowitz Mj-Sc

Antiwan Easley Se-Z

Did You Know?

  • Students typically need an A- average to get into the U of M – Twin Cities
  • Students typically need a B average to get into the MN State Colleges
  • MN 2 year colleges have a guarantee with the MN 4 year colleges for acceptance
  • AHS Students can go to MCTC for FREE through the Power of You program
  • AHS students planned to use over 2 million dollars in grants and scholarships last year

Top 10 for Last 5 Years

    • North Hennepin Community College
    • University of Minnesota, TwinCities
    • Minnesota State University, Mankato
    • University of Minnesota, Duluth
    • North Dakota State University
    • St. Cloud State University
    • University of Wisconsin, Madison
    • Iowa State University
    • MCTC
    • Normandale Community College

Colleges Across the United States

44 states the last 6 years (other than Minnesota)

Highly Selective Colleges

  • Brown University
  • Dartmouth College
  • Yale University
  • University of California at Berkeley
  • Hamilton College
  • Bowdoin College
  • Dillard University
  • Spelman College
  • Smith College
  • Cal Poly University
  • Northwestern University

Resources to help

  • Family Connection
  • College Possible
  • AVID
  • AP Classes

Armstrong TV

Armstrong Activities

Patti Weldon

Activities Director

Armstrong Ativities

Patti Weldon

AHS Activities Director

Armstrong Parent Presenter

Karla Buerkle

Armstrong Parent Association President

Student Presenters

Felicia Peterson

Michael Wozniak

Thank you for attending!

Breakout Sessions:

  • Questions for Principal David Dahl

Location - Right Auditorium Balcony

  • Questions regarding Advanced Placement (AP)

and Advancement via Individual Determination (AVID)

Location - Main Auditorium

Auditorium Foyer Area:

Department Tables

Slides available 11/6/17:

(click on parent tab, click on AHS Parent Preview Presentation)

AHS parent preview 2017 - Google Slides