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Advanced Placement Courses to Help Teachers

Arielle Cotoia 

Willimantic, Conn. - From July 11-15, Eastern Connecticut State University will host a series of Advanced Placement (AP) summer institutes for Connecticut teachers. One hundred forty teachers will participate in the workshops, which will take place in Eastern's Science Building. Topics include AP calculus, biology, environmental science, English language, English literature and statistics.  Seven workshops covering both beginning and advanced topics will be provided.

            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.

"The uniqueness of this collaboration is that it pairs university professors with high school AP teachers," said Donna Wadstrup, internal projects manager of POD.  "Participants are given the unique perspective of what is expected both in a high school, as well as a university treatment of Advanced Placement material. The participants, in addition to receiving instruction from two different perspectives, have the opportunity to interact with their peers for a full week."

            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 has 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.

"We are pleased to host workshops for experienced and new teachers," said Elizabeth Cowles, professor of biology and AP workshop organizer. "Our purpose is to make everyone feel comfortable and confident with the AP curriculum and more importantly, to develop an AP community.  To quote aWatkins Glen (NY) school, 'the foundation of every nation is the education of its youth.' We embrace that premise and keep the promise to all students.  Students are our future." 

For more information, contact Elizabeth Cowles at (860) 465-4385 or  


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