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APSI Course Descriptions

2020 Online APSI Course Descriptions

Thank you for a successful 2020 Online AP Summer Institute. Stay tuned for Summer 2021 APSI Information coming soon!

Week 1:
July 13th - 17th, 2020
Week 2:
July 20th - 24th, 2020

English Literature and Composition
Art &Design
English Language and Comp.
Environmental  Science


Calculus AB
U.S. Government and Politics
Physics 1: Algebra-Based
Spanish Language and Culture
U.S. History
World History

Biology (cancelled)

This AP Summer Institute is designed with the new AP Biology Instructor in mind but that will also benefit experienced AP Biology instructors.  By attending this course you will;
·      Begin to develop a course plan by unit and topic that incorporates the full scope of your AP course into your school’s academic calendar,
·      Examine formative and summative assessment items to identify content and skill pairings that are the targets of these assessments and create lesson plans to reinforce content and skill connections,
·      Practice applying the scoring guidelines from the most recent AP Exam to samples of student work,
·      Identify student strengths and weakness using data available through AP Classroom and Instructional Planning Reports,
·      Explore ready-to-use strategies, instructional materials, and pedagogical tools pertinent to the content and skills required for success in your AP course, and
·      Develop meaningful connections within the AP community.

We will accomplish this by digging deep into the AP Biology Course and Exam Description (CED) that will become our go-to resource for all questions about the course, and the online AP Biology resources available in AP Classroom. We will discuss the laboratory component of the course and learn how to identify labs that fulfill its requirement as well and how to use the data to understand data analysis skills required in the course.  We will also, of course, discuss the most recent AP Biology exam and how to help students prepare for the exam next May.  Instructor: Todd Ryan

Calculus AB

This session will familiarize participants with the AP Calculus Course and Exam Description, the AP Exam, and the online AP Calculus resources through AP Classroom, this includes thorough coverage of the concepts/content of Calculus AB. By attending this session, you will:

  • Examine strategies for successfully teaching the major topics using multiple representations (graphical, numerical, algebraic, verbal)
  • Inspect resources, activities and supplemental material that promote student understanding
  • Have hands on experience with AP Free Response and AP Multiple Choice questions with attention to assessment of student written responses.
  • Practice applying the scoring guidelines. Discuss methods for using TI84 and TI-Nspire graphing calculators & demonstrations using Desmos.
  • Develop a course pacing guide by unit/topic to incorporate the full scope of your AP course into your school’s academic calendar. Examine formative/summative assessment item types to identify/explain how pairings of content/skills are the focus of instruction and the target of these assessments.
  • Identify student strengths and weakness using data available through AP Classroom and Instructional Planning Reports.

Specific attention will be paid to the following AP resources: Unit Guides, Topic Questions, Personal Progress Checks, Question Bank, Instructional Planning Reports, and the AP Teacher Community. Please bring a graphing calculator and laptop computer. In addition, any favorite lessons, handouts, techniques of instruction, or other items of interest. Instructor: Dennis Donovan


This summer course is designed to be helpful to both beginner teachers looking to hit the ground running and experienced teachers hoping to improve their materials, lab work, and student success.  We will review difficult concepts that have been problematic for student understanding.  We will explore some of the best methods to present and to evaluate these difficult topics.  Emphases will be placed on time management and laboratory planning to fulfill the inquiry lab requirements of the AP curriculum.

While the online 2020 APSI will make lab work near impossible, there will be plenty of dicussion of ways to provide a rich lab experience that can be done efficiently and affordably, both with and without probe ware.

Time will be spent on developing an understanding of the AP exam, grading methods, strategies to ensure student success and raising scores.  Digital materials for both class and lab as well as teaching strategies that can be implemented immediately to enhance your course will be provided.  There will be time for sharing of ideas and discussing solutions to challenges faced.  Participants that have not already done so, will be assisted in completing their AP audit.  Instructor: Susan Biggs

English Language and Composition (cancelled)

AP English Language and Composition course is centered on argumentation and rhetorical analysis-setting, the groundwork for students to be informed citizens in our democracy. The recent changes to the course framework as well as to the exam has resulted in substantial shifts and exciting opportunities for both instructors and their students. On a more practical level, our world has evolved to confronting the challenges of virtual learning both as a teacher and as a participant of professional development. As such, this session is structured to optimize the benefits of technology with a manageable balance of synchronous and asynchronous contact-–tailored to the individual needs of each participant whose schedules and life situations often result in additional pressures as well as screen fatigue.
Morning and afternoon sessions commence with a short period of whole group engagement entailing a combination of tutorials and sharing of best practices- including preparing strategies for teaching remotely! Asynchronous engagement includes recommended self-guided tutorials from other key players with experiences in both high schools and academia whose involvement range from leadership roles at the AP scoring, test development members, and experienced colleagues across the nation, all sharing their successful lessons and best practices. Ample time each day is allocated for personal instruction as well as for participants to design course instruction for the upcoming school year. 
This is a unique opportunity to expand your networking in ways you might never have imagined. Looking forward to "seeing" all of you. Instructor: Patricia Fox

English Literature and Composition

The course focuses on participants' needs and allows daily hands on activities that they will be able to use immediately in their own classrooms at the inception of the 2020-2021 school year. Some of the specific topics of the course will be vertical team methods, multiple choice strategies, reading and grading on the newly adapted 1 (Thesis), 4 (Commentary and Evidence) and 1 (Sophistication) rubric.  We will also be addressing all of the approaches to the units of the CED and how to maneuver through ap classroom.   We will begin with how to create and write a syllabus and a focus on the many questions you might have so they are answered throughout the week.  See you in July. This Advanced Placement English Literature course will consist of several different techniques and strategies that will be relevant to inexperienced advanced placement teachers giving them the tools to begin the course or for those teachers who may not be teaching the course yet and would like to use the strategies for scaffolding in their English classes. Instructor: Susan Pedone

Environmental Science (cancelled)

The course is designed to engage AP Environmental Science teachers with a range of experience and backgrounds. Teachers looking to build a baseline and develop their first-year syllabus will be fully supported as will more experience teachers endeavoring to make their courses more robust, efficient and student-directed.

Participants in this class will strengthen their foundation in instructional methodology while also considering a range of new ways to deliver course material. In addition to developing ideas about ways to integrate technology (including iPads, Vernier, and engineering/design) and up-to-date information, students will evaluate how different projects and activities fit into their larger curriculum.

Emphasis on grading and appropriate student evaluations will allow teachers to better understand the AP Exam and strategies for preparing their own classes for the multiple choice and free response portions of the test. Lab and project components will support core curriculum while addressing course content in a way that will support success on the AP Exam. Instructor: Brian Palm

Physics 1: Algebra-Based

Whether you are a new or an experienced AP physics teacher, this workshop will provide an opportunity for you to become familiar with the College Board's newly redesigned algebra/trigonometry-based AP Physics 1 course.

You will have the opportunity to meet and share ideas with colleagues who are teaching or planning to teach the course. Topics may include:

  • An introduction to the Physics 1 course description
  • A close-look at the recent years' Physics 1 exam questions
  • Instructional strategies for selected topics
  • Preparing your own syllabus for the course audit
  • Ideas of labs and other projects

Throughout the week, sample test questions and practice exam questions will be used to help you gain the knowledge and understanding of the new curriculum and its instructional requirements. You will be expected to take active roles in the workshop including familiarizing yourself with the course framework, answering sample test questions, sharing teaching strategies, designing labs, and developing your own syllabi for the audit as well as for your students. Instructor: Jiang Yu


This course will provide a comprehensive exploration of the structure and content of the AP Psychology curriculum. The course is designed to benefit both new and experienced teachers of AP Psychology. Each of the 14 content areas of the course will be addressed and participants will be exposed to the classic findings as well as recent discoveries in the field. We will address, in detail, any new changes to the content of the curriculum.

A significant emphasis will be placed on bringing difficult content to life for students. Participants will leave with interactive demonstrations, activities and many new teaching strategies that they can implement immediately to enhance their course. We will explore various text and online resources that will help further the content knowledge of participants. Another focus of the institute will be on the AP Exam. Participants will be exposed to previously released multiple-choice exams and past free response questions.

We will spend time exploring how the FRQ is graded at the reading and participants will engage in applying the rubric to samples of the most recent pair of FRQs. We will also evaluate strategies for preparing students for success on the exam. Participants will leave with many new resources to enhance their teaching of AP Psychology. The tools provided in this course will help participants create an exciting course that equips their students with the skills needed to excel in the AP Psychology course. Instructor: Michael Hamilton

Spanish Language and Culture

In this institute, we will delve into all of the aspects of the AP Spanish Language and Culture course. Specifically, participants will probe the following:

  • Goals of the AP course and exam
  • Course and Exam Description (the CED)
  • AP curricular themes and subthemes
  • Course Framework
  • The Unit Guides
  • Learning objectives
  • Skill categories
  • Instructional approaches and strategies
  • AP exam structure
  • Formative versus summative assessments
  • The AP Resources available to teachers including the Personal Progress Checks and the AP Question Bank
  • Test questions
  • Scoring rubrics
  • Student samples for the exam

Our discussion of student performance will focus on three communicative modes: interpretive, interpersonal, and presentational and how they inform the structure of the exam. Additionally, we will discuss AP curriculum and syllabus development, utilizing the Unit Guides, instructional strategies and the Personal Progress Checks along with the integration of culture (products, practices and perspectives) into all levels of an AP and Pre-AP program. Each participant will develop a unit of instruction incorporating various Instructional Strategies, formative and summative assessments, with authentic resources to share and present to the group. Moreover, each participant will choose an authentic resource aligned with one of the course themes, and create activities corresponding to each of the skills as delineated in the Skill Categories to share with the group. In addition, we will examine and share teaching strategies, instructional materials, and online resources to make our AP program vibrant, relevant, and successful. Music, video and film resources exemplifying the themes with accompanying comprehension activities will be woven throughout. Instructor: Lourdes Rodriguez-Von Vogt

Art & Design

The AP Art & Design Summer Institute for new/experienced teachers of AP will explore the “new” 3D Art and Design, 2D Art and Design and Drawing portfolios, facilitate the creation of valuable curricula and corresponding art making.

The requirement changes of the portfolio will be examined through digital presentations and discussions, geared to generate curriculum development through collaborative work and studio practice. Topics will include:

  • An overview of The College Board materials provided
  • Unpacking changes to the portfolio requirements
  • The evaluation process and rubric
  • An overview of the training materials from the 2020 Reading
  • Engagement in inquiry and investigation through practice, experimentation, revision and reflection
  • Understanding the writing component
  • Developing sketchbook strategies
  • Selecting art for the Selected Works section
  • Generating ideas for the Sustained Investigation that can support investigative research
  • Investigating themes from Contemporary Art to inspire curriculum

Our work will be collaborative and learner-centered with an emphasis on ideation and strategies for assisting AP students to select sustained investigation topics that are viable and inventive. Studio sessions will be dedicated to the development of a mini concentration, using process research, investigation and exploration. Exercises will demonstrate how the synthesis of materials, processes and ideas can be conveyed through both images and words. Written responses to the portfolio prompts are linked to student understanding of the portfolio goals.

Participants will engage in the same kind of creative problem solving and exploration that they will ask of their students. The format will include informal lectures, digital presentations, group collaboration and studio activities. Participants will be encouraged to share strategies, ideas and best practices. Group critiques and activities will be conducted with an emphasis on process and the development of a theme or idea that can generate continued investigation.

You are asked to bring some studio supplies for their own art making. Please bring a Laptop or tablet and flash drive. Some materials will be provided and announced at a later date. Instructor: Claudia Michael

U.S. Government and Politics

This course is designed for educators who are new to US Government and Politics as well as for experienced teachers in search of new materials and strategies. Detailed information about the frameworks and the testing format will be covered in depth. We will closely examine each of the 5 units.  The course highlights interactive lessons that span units and call on the same type of knowledge and skills used in all 4 types of Free Response Questions. We will also share approaches for this course that are effective with students from different academic backgrounds.

Participants will gain expertise in:
•  The 20 Enduring Understandings at the heart of the course
•  The 15 required landmark Supreme Court Cases
•  The 9 required Foundational Documents
•  How to use current events to enrich the course and  connect to key points in the frameworks
•  Creating a supportive and non-judgmental classroom while encouraging an exchange of political ideas and experiences
•  How to design a dynamic student centered political science course

Although the nation’s founding documents remain unchanged, policy, legislation, court decisions and political trends are constantly evolving. Updated curriculum will be made available for all sub-topics. This course will examine our political landscape from multiple perspectives, ranging in time from the founding of the Republic to the 2020 elections and beyond. Presenter: Robert Baker

U.S. History

This year’s workshop will allow both new and experienced teachers to develop a deep understanding of the most up-to-date requirements of the AP US History Course and Exam. With a goal of developing apprentice historians through the study of America’s past from Settlement through the early 21st Century, our focus will include:

Instructional strategies to develop student mastery in course content and themes, historical reasoning processes and thinking skills.

  • Strategies to maintain rigor while allowing for differentiation
  • Creating annual pacing guides/syllabi and unit/lesson plans
  • Comprehensive understanding of the exams and rubrics
  • Assessment practice using 2020 DBQ/LEQ/SAQ samples among others
  • Analyzing historical evidence through writing strategies
  • Opportunities for sharing best practices and developing units and lessons

Participants will explore the course and exam description in detail and throughout the week we will develop resources to guide instruction. Therefore teachers are asked to bring materials including readings, texts and lessons to facilitate and share in the development of their syllabi and lessons/units. Instructor: Anna Keegan

World History

The AP World History workshop is designed to help both new and experienced teachers and will focus on recent changes to the AP World History Exam. I have taught the course and have been at the Reading for many years, and I will address some of the key challenges of teaching AP World History: coverage of the content in the new Curriculum Framework, pacing, development of critical thinking skills, success on the test questions, and stimulating student engagement. You will examine Multiple Choice questions, Short Answer Questions, Document Based Essay and Free Response Essays in terms of strategies to succeed on the new test, will utilize the College Board scoring rubrics, and will analyze sample student exam essays. The workshop is interactive so that you can replicate the activities in your own classrooms and return with practical lessons and teaching strategies. You are also encouraged to bring some of your best practices (lessons, resources, unit plans, books, films, and/or syllabi) for sharing and discussion with the group. I will provide access to hundreds of files, including simulations, Power Point presentations, assignments, tests, projects, performance assessments, and teaching strategies. Instructor: Lenore Schneider

For More information contact us at:
Center for Professional Studies
Phone: 978.665.3636
Fax: 978.665.3639