A Meeting of the AP Leadership Team

Someone wrote in recently to the AP Calculus listserve asking if any schools had an “AP Leadership Team” in place to help guide the program and make decisions as to allocation of resources, enrollment and drop policies, etc.  Although we don’t have a formal leadership team at my school, there is a small group of us that basically serve that function.  Our group consists of our assistant principal in charge of curriculum, our head guidance counselor who is also the campus AP coordinator and me, campus AP advocate and district AP lead teacher for mathematics.  The three of us met together briefly before the winter holiday in order to plan an agenda for a meeting we would have with all AP teachers on the first day back to campus after the holiday (teacher work day).  I know a meeting to plan for a meeting is very Dilbert-ish, but we value our teachers’ time and wanted to make sure we could get our points covered as efficiently as possible.

Here are the things we discussed and the agenda we outlined:

  • We discussed final plans for our AP Scholars’ Breakfast that would be taking place in the week after the holidays.  We had a record number (102) of scholars to recognize, a 28% increase over the previous year.  (See previous post of 1/1/10 for a description of this event.)  We wanted to thank the teachers for their hard work in making this happen and encourage them to attend.  The assistant principal had planned a series of class meetings for that day and would have some of our graduates stick around to discuss their college experiences with our underclassmen and encourage those kids to take advantage of the challenging courses that we offer in order to best prepare themselves for college.
  • The counselor shared a new plan for registering students for AP exam.  Instead of allowing a six week window, she has reduced the time to only two weeks since the kids always wait to register until the last day anyways.  After the initial two-week window, students can still register for another week, but cost of exam will increase by 50%.  During the next week, kids may still register but cost of exam doubles.  We discussed the necessity of advertising the registration process, making posters and having teachers begin talking about exam registration in January so that kids can tell their parents of the cost and begin saving up money.
  • The counselor also wanted to remind teachers of the importance of showing up as relief teachers during the exam administration (not for their own AP class, but for other subject areas.)  Counselors are overwhelmed at that time of year and need help to make the exams run smoothly.
  • Registration for next year’s classes is well under way and we discussed when we thought enrollment numbers would be available.  We also talked about an electives fair that would allow teachers to set up a “booth” and advertise their course.  We have several courses such as AP Statistics, Computer Science and Environmental Science in which we hope to boost enrollment.
  • We wanted to remind the teachers to let us know about training needs that they thought might be necessary.  If the number of sections of a course increases to the point where we need a second teacher, then that teacher must be identified and sent to summer training, an expense that we will need to plan for.
  • We also needed to pass out flyers and discuss plans for our Saturday AP prep sessions as well as the sessions that will take place for our seniors during TAKS week.  Every subject has a dedicated day and it’s important that we not schedule on top of one another and that we are consistent in how we award extra credit for attending these sessions.
  • Finally, we talked a little about our philosophy of trying to have an inclusive program that results in good exam performance.  Some of our teachers have large enrollments in their AP classes, but exam performance is not as good as we would like.  Other classes have a very high percentage of recommended scores, but a much smaller enrollment.  This discussion led to my previous post about setting New Year’s resolutions to figure out how each teacher needs to set their own goals for improving their AP program.

The meeting with our team of AP teachers ended up going very well.  We had an agenda that we followed and were able to answer a few questions, address some concerns and take a few suggestions.  A successful AP program cannot rest on the shoulders of one individual.  The more that responsibility can be shared, the better off you will be.  If you are hoping to improve the AP program at your school, find an ally!  Look for a counselor, an administrator or a fellow teacher who shares your goals and begin outlining a plan.  If you have an idea to share or a question you would like to see answered in this forum, post a comment and I will try to work it into my next post.




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