AP® Summer Institutes Offer Invaluable Professional Learning for Teachers


‘The most successful strategies and activities I’ve used in my classroom have come from APSI’

Teaching is one of those professions where you continue to learn and grow throughout your career. AP Summer Institutes (APSI) offer considerable value for both new and experienced teachers as attendees will come away with ready-to-use strategies and pedagogical tools they can implement in the next school year. 

If you are not familiar with APSIs, they are professional learning courses led by the College Board and designed for AP educators to help strengthen their AP instruction. 

“As a former principal, APSIs were some of the few opportunities for training that I could actually rely on 100 percent,” says Philip Bates, a high school principal who now heads up UWorld’s College Readiness program.

Whether preparing to teach an Advanced Placement course for the first time or looking to explore the program more deeply, teachers can be confident the Summer Institutes offer the most thorough professional learning available. Attendees typically engage in 30 or more hours of in-depth training led by experienced AP educators.

In addition to acquiring new teaching methods and strengthened teaching skills, teachers will leave the training with AP resources they can use immediately in the classroom. These include:

  • Instructional Strategies
  • Unit Guides
  • Topic Questions
  • Personal Progress Checks
  • Instructional Planning Reports
  • Syllabus Development Guides
  • Sample Syllabi

“The most successful strategies and activities I’ve used in my classroom have come from APSI,” says Sandy Lockhart, a former AP literature teacher. “The March Madness AP exam review activity, the in-depth literature circles project and the modern poetry unit have not only helped to improve my students’ analytical and writing skills, but they’re fun and engaging!”

Typically taught by a single instructor, APSIs provide an excellent opportunity to learn from subject experts who boast a tremendous amount of experience designing and teaching AP classes.

“Attendees will come away with a better understanding of the course units, strategies for incorporating those units into your syllabus, and ready-made activities to take back to the classroom,” says UWorld’s Kristina McCalip, an AP educator and content author. “Discussions of the most recent free-response questions with student samples, scores, and explanations will provide more insight into interpreting and using the FRQ scoring guidelines easily. Also, the opportunities for discussions with fellow teachers in your field will help build meaningful connections with others in the AP community.”

Moreover, APSI instructors can be counted on to deliver more resources than teachers can use in a single year.

“When I’m feeling stuck in lesson planning in the middle of the year, I like to grab the big binder and open it at random,” Lockhart says. “I always either find a helpful resource or get reminded of a great idea I had during the summer but hadn’t tried yet. The binder never fails me.”

Ultimately, the value of the APSI is its ability to bring together teachers with the same goal: to improve and expand their AP instruction.

“Teachers are well rested in the summer and the opportunity for them to learn and grow is at its highest level,” Bates says. “I was always confident to send AP teachers to an environment rich with opportunities to share past experiences and learn new strategies and tips.”

Geoff Smith, an AP History content lead with UWorld, concurs and adds that the APSI instructors often provide invaluable insight.

“They are highly trained by the College Board and well respected in the AP community,” Smith says. “You can expect high-quality ideas, resources, and best practices for your classroom. The summer before my first year of teaching AP US History, I was fortunate to attend an APSI with the assistant chief reader of the US History exam at the time. I learned exactly how the College Board approaches certain content and what types of questions commonly appear on the exam.”

We encourage new and experienced high school teachers to attend an upcoming APSI and receive hands-on instruction on the latest teaching methods and curriculum topics while gaining new ideas and resources for their AP classroom.

Learn more about the Advanced Placement Summer Institutes here.

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