More than 60 secondary school teachers committed to boosting students’ college- and career-readiness through Advanced Placement ® courses attended a two-day conference at the University of Notre Dame on Oct. 5 and 6 to update their AP instruction skills.
Notre Dame’s Institute for Educational Initiatives, which administers the Advanced Placement Training and Incentive Program in Indiana, called AP-TIP IN, hosted the conference for teachers of science, math, and English from nine participating public schools around the state.
“The AP-TIP IN initiative is in its first year in Indiana, and with help from U.S. Department of Education funds provided through National Math and Science (NMS), we’re strengthening professional development for teachers who will give students absolutely crucial STEM knowhow,” says Karen Morris, program director for the AP-TIP IN program and faculty member in the IEI. “Also, more AP courses are being offered, so more students can benefit from the rigors of a college-level curriculum. But more courses, more teachers, and more training are still needed.”
In-depth professional development, part of the NMS plan for teacher and student incentives, will spread to more schools around the state. Notre Dame’s conference on Oct. 5-6 included numerous small-group sessions led by experts in the three areas of content. Topics included the full utilization of scientific calculator capabilities, as well as other areas the teachers specifically suggested based on challenges they face in the rigorous AP learning environment.
A $7 million grant to AP-TIP IN from National Math and Science, originating from the U.S. Education Department’s Investment in Innovation (i3) funding program, will allow the number of participating Indiana schools to jump from nine this year to at least 33 over the grant’s five-year period. NMS is currently providing funding for similar programs in seven other states.
In Indiana, it is hoped that the extent and duration of the Advanced Placement ® encouragement effort will continue to grow, using funding from additional sources, such as high-technology corporations that want to cultivate an in-state workforce able to fill specialized jobs they are creating.
The five-year program already has prompted Notre Dame’s IEI to employ content directors who travel the state to visit and support schools where AP ® learning and teaching are being expanded. The professional development conference that took place at Notre Dame’s Jordan Hall of Science on Oct. 5-6 is just one of the teacher gatherings scheduled throughout the year.
To increase the ranks of skilled AP® teachers, an annual Summer Institute will provide certification from the College Board, which creates and
administers the Advanced Placement® tests. The initiative also aims to attract more secondary school students to take AP® courses.
The initiative in Indiana is in partnership with the state’s Department of Education, which has set a goal for 25 percent of high school graduates to have received qualifying scores of 3, 4, or 5 on the College Board’s Advanced Placement ® tests—signs of readiness for college and preparation for the highly technical 21st century workforce.