Teachers Go to Class During Advanced Placement Summer Institute
UT Dallas Offers 21 Courses for Advanced Placement, Pre-Advanced Placement Teacher Certification
Sept. 6, 2013
Advanced Placement Summer Institute participants (from left) Stephanie Tucker, Kaela Crumpton and Rebecca Juereca take part in a lab offered to AP and pre-AP high school chemistry teachers. The class determined the amounts of dye in Kool-Aid and Crystal Light by shining light through the solutions.
More than 450 secondary education teachers spent a week in UT Dallas labs and classrooms over the summer learning from fellow educators in the annual Advanced Placement Summer Institute.
The groups discussed new curricula, best practices and favorite activities for AP and pre-AP middle school and high school courses.
The program, a community outreach initiative of the provost, is supported and hosted by the Teacher Development Center in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies, said Dr. Margaret Fair, the institute’s coordinator.
“The real benefit is the institute meets another academic need of the community,” she said, adding that teachers must be certified to teach AP or pre-AP classes in secondary schools. “North Texas school districts have well-established AP programs, and the teachers can be certified locally.”
The University has hosted Advanced Placement Summer Institute (APSI) for more than a decade, Fair said, generally during the last week of July and the first week of August.
Patricia Young (left) and Vinay Dulip take part in a lab for AP and pre-AP high school chemistry teachers.
UT Dallas is one of several APSI sites in the North Texas area, but many programs in the region take place in June and July. The end-of-summer dates are convenient for teachers who recently were hired or reassigned.
The schedule also is beneficial to those who teach summer school, like Jeremy Rainer, who chose UT Dallas because of his busy schedule. He teaches pre-AP history for Austin ISD.
“I enjoy the ‘aha’ moments kids get (in advanced classes),” he said. “Whenever you get through to the kids, and it increases their confidence in something, that’s pretty special.”
This summer, UT Dallas offered 21 different courses, including biology, calculus, English, studio art and Spanish. More than 90 percent of the participants came from Texas. The remainder came from 15 other states and countries, including Ohio, Delaware, California and Mexico.
Brenda Walters, a teacher in Mount Pleasant, said she chose UT Dallas because it was the closest campus she thought was large enough to be beneficial.
Walters attended the institute to prepare for her first year teaching seventh-grade pre-AP English. She said the training provided her with more up-to-date materials than she has received elsewhere in her 30 years of teaching.
“I’m ready for a challenge myself, to work with a different type of student,” she said.
UT Dallas’ program is approved by College Board and classes are taught by certified consultants.
• Total 2013 participants: 458
• Participants from Texas: 420
• Pre-AP participants: 110
• Courses offered: 21
• Hours spent on campus: 34
• Total participants 2000-2013: 7,471
Dallas-area teacher Todd Abronowitz has taught AP chemistry for 21 years and has served as a College Board consultant for 12.
He said APSI participants return to their classrooms equipped with new material and different approaches. The program also creates a network among the teachers and a mentor-mentee relationship between participants and consultants.
“I get to do real, content-specific chemistry every week during the summer with people who love chemistry,” Abronowitz said.
Fair said an added benefit of the program is it familiarizes the academic community with UT Dallas.
“The teachers who come here become familiar with the campus and might consider attending UTD to further their education,” she said. “An offshoot of that is that it develops a pipeline by teachers telling their AP students about the UTD experience.”