AP Teachers’ Meeting

Well, a few people have actually looked at my blog, so I am going to keep it up and hope to draw a few more eyeballs to the page.  I know my blog is not anything fancy, but I am going to try to add some photos in the future.  Right now, I am keeping it pretty basic.

For my second post, I am going to describe a meeting that I held with all of the AP teachers in my school this week (Teachers were back all of this week for professional development and to set up our rooms; students begin next Tuesday.)

I sent out an email to all of the AP teachers in the building and promised to keep the meeting short–just 30 minutes.

The assistant principal in charge of Advanced Placement came to the meeting and had to leave early so she went first, making sure that all teachers had completed the audit (two had not) and finding out who needed to submit paperwork to get summer training reimbursed.

I then shared some great resources that have been developed for AP math, science and social studies teachers through NASA.  With the 40th anniversary of moon landing, it would be a great time to integrate those lessons.  Also, one of the AP English language free response questions on the 2009 exam dealt with space exploration so this would make a great interdisciplinary unit.

A main part of the meeting was to discuss last year’s AP exam results.  We were a little surprised that we saw an increase in recommended scores even though our senior class was one of the weakest we have had in a while and we had to cancel our math prep session due to swine flu scare.  It was a 10% increase in participation and 4% increase in performance.  We did see a 13% increase in the number of 5’s.  Had about a 24% increase in the number of 1’s, but I pointed out that’s okay since we are now pulling weaker kids into our program.  They might score a 1 as sophomore on the AP World History exam, score a 2 as juniors in US History and finally hit a 3 as a senior.  Our goal is to strengthen the students over time.  We can’t be afraid of those ones; they show the inclusiveness of our program!

I talked about College Board two day conferences and passed around the brochure so that teachers could let me know if they wanted to attend.  I pointed out that we are in dire straits as far as the budget so we might not be able to send everyone who wants to go.  I encouraged all teachers who had taught AP for at least three years to apply to be readers and College Board consultants.  Those experiences can constitute invaluable professional development while also being a paying position.  We will get some money from our state for all of the students who earned recommended scores this year and most of that money will go for teacher training or resources that we need.  We still have $2600 left from last year that wasn’t spent.  I told teachers that if we send them to training of any kind, there is an expectation that they bring the information back and use it to train other teachers through professional development or students through our Saturday prep sessions.

I shared dates for the PSAT which we give to all sophomores and juniors so that we can make use of AP Potential to identify even more candidates for our AP classes.  Also shared the January 7 date for our AP Scholar reception.  We will have graduates who achieved AP Scholar status back to our campus for breakfast on that day and we award them (as well as many juniors who earn the status early) with a special patch for their letterman jackets.  We then send them out to classes to talk to underclassmen about how the AP program benefitted them during their first year of college.

I then explained my role on the campus as the AP Advocate (which I will explain to you in my next post) and finished the meeting by reiterating the goals we want to strive toward in building our AP program.  We want to increase participation, particularly for underrepresented populations, increase performance on the exam (We need even more 5’s!) and have our AP classes reflect the diversity of our campus.  Had to talk really fast to get all of this in within 30 minutes, but I managed to pull it off.

One last thing before I sign off for tonight:  I saw the coolest video today.  Go to http://www.teachertube.com and search for Berkner HS cardboard confessional 2009.  This video shows AVID kids who are going to be the first in their families to attend college.  AVID requires its students to take at least one preAP or AP course each year and provides them the support they need to be successful in their classes.  While many think the face of the AP program is a white kid from a privileged background, this video shows the “hidden population” of AP students for whom the AP program is really life changing.  This video will inspire you as you continue the hard work of building an inclusive and rigorous AP program.

Thanks for reading and tell all of your friends!

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3 Responses to “AP Teachers’ Meeting”

  1. Charlotte Carlisle Says:

    Thanks for sharing and for taking this on. There are a lot of teachers who will benefit from your efforts.

  2. Jeannine Says:

    Hi – thank you for writing in this blog. I plan to comment but my first reaction is, “wow, this is alot of reading”. So, I’ll make sure I read earlier than 11:30 at night. What is Saturday test prep day?

    I also love your notion of what an AP Class should be – gradewise. In my school this is the first course that students struggle with since their two prior years have been with our (1) teacher who doesn’t assign ANY homework. Yikes I know. So – they hate me for the challenge and they hate me for the relentless go-go-go. They then blame me for not helping them, for which they haven’t asked…

    Needless to say I am looking foward to more posts.

  3. Sherrill Says:

    Thanks for the great insight into your program! Keep blogging–we are reading and “stealing” ideas! 🙂

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