Appreciating AP Biology

Elkhorn High School welcomes a new teacher into the world of Advanced Placement Biology.

Nicole Kallio, Reporter

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As the bell rings, students slowly migrate to their seats and pull notebooks out from their bulky backpacks. Pencils and pens collect on the desks, and the sound of papers shuffling are muffled throughout the room, and students groan as the teacher reminds them of the lecture on biochemistry due the next day. For the past 15 years, this would only sound familiar to a handful of students and Elkhorn High School’s only AP Biology teacher, Daryle LaFleur. But this year, another teacher has been added to the mix. 

Olivia Myers, the new AP Biology teacher here at EHS, has been teaching at Elkhorn High for the past 3 years. Aside from teaching introductory biology, and now AP Biology, many students know her from teaching advanced earth science as well. Though she teaches many classes, biology has always had her heart.

Myers knew she wanted to teach AP Biology from the moment she was hired. “When I took my position at Elkhorn,” Myers said, “I told Radicia that AP Bio had always been the goal for me. It’s not like it just came out of thin air.” She had been waiting for this promotion since she started teaching biology, and was not about to turn down the offer. 

Because of Elkhorn North High School opening so soon, the administration was looking to add more AP teachers to courses that only had one or two teachers. “It wasn’t like I was directly asked or they directly asked me,” Myers said. “They already knew my interest, and I stepped up when offered the position.”

In preparation to teach this class, Myers had to begin working towards her Masters degree in Biology. She is currently taking classes such as Organic Chemistry, Biostatistics, and Biology-based Anatomy in order to reach her degree. “I began preparing to teach this class about a year and a half ago,” Myers said. “I had to start my second masters because my first one isn’t in Biology.” Myers also reports that she is very thankful to the experienced Mr. LaFleur who is letting her use lectures, slide shows, and other materials to teach her classes with. “I’ve been using the same materials to teach my classes for years,” LaFleur said. “This year we’re both using the same materials to ensure an even playing field for the students.”

 LaFleur, who has been teaching AP Biology alone for 15 years, is also known for grading and writing questions for the College Board, the company behind Advanced Placement, or AP classes. Mrs. Myer’s is not scared of teaching alongside her experienced coworker, though, and is actually very excited to be joining the AP Biology community. “I don’t think [I’m scared to teach AP Biology],” Myers said. “It’s the class I walk into the most excited to teach everyday, and it’s most relevant to my interests.”

 LaFleur is confident in his protégé’s ability to teach the challenging class. “She’s going to be great,” LaFleur said of Myers. “She has a good understanding of science and biology, and that’s incredibly important in teaching any science class, especially one like this.” He also believes that Myers has a very good personality for teaching, and that being able to interact with the kids in the way that she can is valuable in this profession. 

Teaching an AP class is not known for being easy, but it would be impossible to know if it is her first year if not told so. If not for her passion for science, or her love for her students, she would definitely not be teaching this class. “It’s a different animal,” Myers said. “But I do it all for the students, and that’s what matters the most.”