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The Voice of the Wildcats

The Paw Print

The Voice of the Wildcats

The Paw Print

Zapping the rumors

Will AP Physics C: Electricity & Magnetism happen?
Chloe De Leon
A stylized illustration of how electricity sparks between two wires.

Students, teachers, and parents have advocated the inclusion of Advanced Placement (AP) Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism (E&M) to help students further their interests in physical science.

According to the 2024-2025 Course Catalog, Woodside plans on offering 10 different science courses (not including engineering and computer science classes, which are Career Technical Education courses): Biology, Chemistry, Advanced Standing Chemistry, Physics, Human Biology, Environmental Science, AP Environmental Science, AP Biology, AP Physics C: Mechanics and Astronomy. In terms of the advanced placement courses, there are two life science-based courses but only one physical science course.

Stephanie Finander, who currently teaches AP Physics C: Mechanics and AP Calculus BC, has helped spearhead the movement to bring AP Physics C: E&M to Woodside students. As of right now, co-head Counselor Fransisco Negri reported that there is not enough official student interest to commit to making a class.

“I think we started talking about it in the science department because we heard other schools were doing it,” Finander said. “When I started talking to my juniors this year about what science they were going to take next year, a bunch of them told me that they wanted to take an AP science [class], but they weren’t really interested in life science.”

Junior Alexis Kolotouros was one of these students. After concerns that Finander mentioned about AP Physics C: E&M not coming to Woodside until after the current junior class graduates, Kolotouros decided to create a petition.

“There are not many other physical science options for people that want to take more advanced physics classes,” Kolotouros said. “There’s AP Biology and Human Biology, but I just did not want to take AP Biology.”

Through the creation of this petition, Kolotouros was able to show the school that student interest was high enough to create a full section of this course. Currently, not enough students have gone to their counselor to officially confirm wanting to enroll.

“We had an initial list of students that were interested in it and now we’re officially taking names,” Negri said. “We put it on the announcements. We have reached out to the students who have expressed interest in the past. Right now, we have 10 students that have officially been confirmed and we need about 25.”

Besides student interest, some parents of Woodside students were also in support of having this class at Woodside.

“A whole bunch of parents came to talk to me at open house,” Finander said. “They, independently of each other, were very interested in [AP Physics C: E&M].”

However, many of these parent’s students are currently enrolled in AP Physics C: Mechanics or AP Calculus BC. Finander said that physics teacher Matthew Sahagun might teach the E&M class next year if her schedule does not allow for it.

“You use some things that you’ve learned in the AP: C Mechanics course,” Sahagun said. “It would be like a second year of taking AP Physics. For example, forces and energy will all come back but the focus again is on the electric forces and electric fields.”

AP Physics C: Mechanics will not necessarily be a prerequisite. After looking at the College Board page, Finander was able to determine that students seem to succeed, even without prior knowledge of mechanical physics. It does seem that the prerequisites regarding math will be more strict for this course.

“I think that the students definitely need to be in calculus as opposed to C Mechanics where we can fake it without calculus,” Finander said. “This one takes advanced calculus like integrals [and] those kinds of things.”

Activities in the class will include circuit and electrostatic-based labs.

“We are going to spend a long, large amount of time building circuits and making sure they exhibit certain properties,” Sahagun said. “[Time will be spent] getting things to light up, getting motors to spin and testing circuits.”

Sahagun took AP Physics C: E&M while he was in high school and enjoyed it. For students who aim to truly challenge themselves, the contents of this course would align with that goal.

“E&M was by far my favorite thing that I did in high school,” Sagahun said. “It is incredibly interesting, it is incredibly difficult, but that made it interesting for me.”

According to Sagahun, this course would complement students wanting to study engineering or physics in the future. It will essentially give students a higher footing on related courses they take in college or university. Kolotouros’ interest was greatly based on this principle as she was deciding whether or not she wanted to pursue physical science in college.

“If I take this class, it might be too hard and I’ll know that,” Kolostouros said. “[Otherwise], I will know I can actually do it [in college].”

As mentioned, students interested in enrolling in this course can boost its likelihood of happening by contacting their counselor.

“Woodside has always taken pride in the fact that we offer what students want to take,” Negri said.

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About the Contributor
Chloe De Leon
Chloe De Leon, Multimedia/Online Editor
Chloe de Leon is a junior and second-year journalist. She enjoys writing about culture, lifestyle, entertainment, and local news. In her free time, she takes part in math club, plays piano, and plays on her school’s varsity tennis team.

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