Teachers obtain training on how to teach AP courses

Photo shows the 12th Annual PSS 2014 AP Summer Institute held at the Northern Marianas College this year.    	             (Contributed Photo)

Photo shows the 12th Annual PSS 2014 AP Summer Institute held at the Northern Marianas College this year. (Contributed Photo)

For over 12 years, the Public School System has supported rigorous academic instruction through the College Board Advance Placement program. Every year, teachers from all over the CNMI, including participants from private schools and public schools on Tinian and Rota, are invited to attend a four-day training to become certified AP teachers. This certification allows schools to offer AP courses endorsed by the College Board.

Students who take AP courses are exposed to college level academic expectations and even have the opportunity to earn college credit through passing the AP examinations that are given annually in May. All PSS students are afforded the opportunity to take the high stakes AP examinations free of charge through a federal grant obtained by the district.

Every year, over 600 students in the CNMI take the AP exam in hopes of scoring 3s and 4s that would then earn them college credit, giving them a head start in college. These credits are widely accepted at U.S. accredited colleges and universities.

For the last three years, Pre-AP and vertical team content strategies have been a large focus of the Saipan AP Summer Institutes. Training in pre-AP and vertical teams in relation to AP courses are designed to provide teachers in the middle school and elementary grade levels access to instructional strategies that would prepare students so that once they enter high school, they are ready for AP courses.

Pre-AP is based on two premises. The first is that all students can perform at rigorous academic levels. The second is that by preparing students for rigorous intellectual engagement, we must start developing those skills as early as possible. That is why middle and elementary school teachers have been highly encouraged to attend this annual training.

This year, a total of 40 teachers received training in the subject areas of AP English language, literature and composition, AP Calculus and AP Biology. All three content areas included an emphasis in Pre-AP strategies and Vertical team alignment. By providing teachers and students access to pre-AP strategies and Vertical Team alignment, more students in the CNMI will be prepared to take AP courses and pass AP exams.

“Big thanks go out to the Northern Marianas College for allowing us the use of their campus for the APSI venue this year. Big thanks to the STEP UP program for allowing our science teachers to use the lab facilities at NMC,” said Leila Staffler, the AP Summer Institute director.

Teachers will be surveyed this September to decide what courses will be offered for next year’s APSI. Next year’s APSI will take place on June 23-26, 2015.

Jun Dayao Dayao
This post is published under the Contributing Author. He/she does not normally work for Saipan Tribune but contributes for a specific topic or series.

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