From July 11-15, Eastern Connecticut State University is hosting a series of Advanced Placement (AP) summer institutes for Connecticut teachers. One hundred forty teachers are participating in the workshops, which are taking place in the Science Building. Topics include AP calculus, biology, environmental science, English language, English literature and statistics. Seven workshops covering beginning and advanced topics are being provided.
"We are pleased to host workshops for experienced and new teachers," said Elizabeth Cowles, professor of biology and AP workshop organizer. This is the 13th year in row that Cowles has coordinated AP workshops for Connecticut teachers. "Our purpose is to make everyone feel comfortable and confident with the AP curriculum and more importantly, to develop an AP community."
The workshops are a collaborative initiative between Eastern, Hartford-based Project Opening Doors (POD) and the Willimantic-based Project Access for All. The goals of the workshops are to help increase the awareness of AP classes within school systems and provide teachers with methods to enhance their student's knowledge in the areas of math and science. Both of the projects are funded by a grant from the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) in partnership with EASTCONN, which runs the program.
Studies have shown a steady decline of American students pursuing math and science courses. According to the NMSI website, only 18 percent of 12th-grade students performed at or above the proficiency level in science. Project Opening Doors has helped to raise these figures -- the number of students in AP math and science in nine school districts participating in the POD project increased 12 percent in 2009, which is twice the national average and three times the average in the the state of Connecticut, according to CBIA's website.