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APSI Course Descriptions

2020 APSI Course Descriptions TBD

2019 APSI Course Descriptions

Week 1:
July 15th - 19th, 2019
Week 2:
July 22nd - 26th, 2019

English Language and Comp.
English Literature and Composition
Environ. Science -CANCELED
Art & Design

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

Art & Design

The AP Art & Design Summer Institute for new and beginning teachers of AP will explore the following:

  • 3D Art and Design
  • 2D Art and Design and Drawing portfolios
  • The creation of valuable curricula and corresponding art making

The requirements of the portfolio will be examined in depth through digital presentations and discussions intended to generate curriculum development through studio practice. Topics addressed during the week will include:

  • An overview of The College Board materials provided
  • The Reading process
  • An overview of the training materials from the 2019 Reading
  • Changes to the portfolio requirements
  • Engaging in inquiry and investigation through practice, experimentation, revision and reflection
  • Mock Readings using the rubric from the 2019 Reading
  • Developing sketchbook strategies
  • Selecting art for the Selected Works section
  • Generating ideas for the Sustained Investigation that can support investigative research about an artistic concern
  • AP Studio Art goals and the National Core Art Standards
  • Investigating themes from Contemporary Art to inspire curriculum

An emphasis will be placed 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 action research, investigation and exploration. Participants will engage in the same kind of creative problem solving that they will ask of their students.

The format of the Institute will include informal lectures, digital presentations and studio activities. All participants will be encouraged to share best practices and some exercises will be completed in small groups. 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.

Participants will be asked to bring some studio supplies for their own art making. Please bring a laptop or tablet and flash drive for sharing of teaching materials.  Some materials will be provided and announced at a later date.


The AP Biology Summer Institute will provide teachers with the strategies necessary to provide their students with an understanding of the A.P. Biology Curriculum Framework, with a focus on the four Big Ideas, the Science Practices, and the Learning Objectives. Participants will have the opportunity to engage in hands-on laboratory experiences, including several of the recommended AP Biology labs, in Fitchburg State University’s well-equipped labs. Discussions will provide suggestions for preparing students for the experimental design component of the labs and improving their analytical and computational skills. Review of practice exams and an overview of the results of several AP Biology exams will provide teachers with an analysis of typical areas of difficulty for students. Suggestions for how to write relevant test questions will be provided. Participants will have an opportunity to develop a syllabus, review possible textbooks, and share one of their favorite labs. 

Calculus AB

Description Coming Soon!


This five day summer AP Chemistry institute is designed to meet the needs of both Beginning and Experienced AP Chemistry teachers. The following will help prepare AP Chemistry teachers to set up and conduct a quality course with confidence:

  • Course sequencing
  • Pacing
  • Test/homework design
  • Grading
  • Lab selection
  • AP test preparation

The impact of the curriculum and exam changes of the 2013/2014 academic year will be discussed, along with the AP’s shift towards an Inquiry Based lab curriculum. Particular emphasis will be placed on Inquiry Lab activities that can fit into a 40 minute class period and how to successfully modify the AP curriculum for more challenging academic populations. Having an opportunity to meet and exchange ideas with other chemistry teachers through day-to-day activities, demos, projects, and class management strategies always results in a positive experience.

English Language and Composition

Attendees of this workshop will leave with a better grasp of the skills students need to succeed on the AP Composition and Language Exam. Teachers will make up a learning community in which participants engage in deep discussion and practice of pedagogies and methodologies designed to enhance the skills needed to succeed on the national Exam and beyond. The following will be among the areas of focus:

  • Argumentation
  • Synthesis
  • Analysis
  • Visual rhetoric
  • Close-reading
  • Student-centered practices

Attendees will leave with plenty of materials they can use immediately. Please bring a laptop and read Citizen by Claudia Rankine before you arrive. 

English Literature and Composition

This Advanced Placement English Literature course will consist of several different techniques and strategies that will be relevant to inexperienced Advanced Placement teachers. Participants will receive the tools to begin the course or, for those teachers who may not be teaching the course yet, the strategies for scaffolding in their English classes. We will begin with the logistics of how to initially construct the course and lead to specific units involving the different genres and approaches to those genres, respectively. Also included will be methodology and pedagogy needed to address the requirements of ELA state mandated curriculum, as well as College Board criteria. 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 start of the 2017-2018 school year. Some of the specific topics of the course will be:

  • Vertical team methods
  • Multiple choice strategies
  • Reading and grading on a 0-9 rubric
  • Addressing tone and theme
  • Writing techniques

We will begin with each participant identifying the topics they would like to see addressed, so each of those needs will be part of the week’s focus. Please be ready with your list of topics. It will be a great week as we work together to fill each day with useful and constructive ideas. See you in July.

Environmental Science - CANCELED

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.

European History - CANCELED

This workshop is designed for both new and experienced teachers and will focus on the new format for AP European History. A new curriculum framework establishes a specific set of historical thinking skills and thematic learning objectives.  Content is organized in a periodization concept outline. Accordingly, the workshop will explore best practices for bringing together skills, themes, and content in the classroom and will provide opportunities for participants to work with peers, share ideas, lessons, and best practices. Furthermore, we work in a collaborative fashion to address many struggles, while organizing our course work for the fall term.

In addition, the exam includes a new style of multiple-choice questions, short answers, a long essay, and a document-based question.  Released exam items will be available as models for participants who will design appropriate lessons using their own instructional materials.  Participants may also adapt or create a course syllabus that reflects the new course design. It is imperative that teachers arrive with their school-year calendar and the primary text they will use.

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


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. 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.

Spanish Language and Culture

In this institute, we will dissect the Curriculum Framework for the AP Spanish Language and Culture exam. Participants will analyze the following:

  • AP curricular themes and subthemes
  • Learning objectives
  • Achievement level descriptions
  • Test questions
  • Scoring rubrics
  • Student samples for the exam

Our discussion of student performance will focus on three communicative modes: interpretive, interpersonal, and presentational. Additionally, we will discuss AP curriculum and syllabus development, as well as the integration of culture (products, practices and perspectives) into all levels of an AP and Pre-AP program. There will be a special emphasis on the use of technology and the arts to support curricular goals. Finally, we will examine and share teaching strategies, instructional materials, and online resources to make our AP program vibrant, relevant, and successful.

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 new frameworks and the new testing format for 2018-2019 will be highlighted. We will examine each of the 5 new units in detail, explore interactive lessons that span units, and try a variety of approaches that call on the same type of knowledge and skills used in the Free Response Questions. We will also share strategies for this course that are effective with students from different academic backgrounds. Although the nation’s founding documents remain unchanged, policy, legislation, court decisions and political trends are constantly evolving. Updated curriculum, both in electronic and hard copy form, 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 results of the 2016 election and beyond to the upcoming midterms in November.

U.S. History

This course will provide teachers with the tools they need to design or revise an effective AP US History course. Throughout the week, teachers will explore the following:

  • Disciplinary practices
  • Reasoning skills
  • Historical periods
  • Concept outlines
  • Thematic learning objectives

Participants will understand how to use activities that organize the concepts and essential questions to develop students’ proficiency in the historical disciplinary practices and reasoning skills identified in the curriculum framework.  Participants will work on a course plan that will help them decide how they will teach the practices and skills and what content they feel will best allow their students to apply the practices and skills they need to be apprentice historians. In addition, participants will review the AP US History Exam, including an understanding of the scoring guidelines for the Long Essay Question and DBQ. This will include the reading and scoring of sample essays from the most recent exam reading. The curriculum framework and exam scoring guidelines have undergone revisions over the last three years, so this course will also provide participants with the latest revisions. Participants are encouraged to bring books, supplemental readings, lessons, and any other materials they think would be valuable to share with other teachers.

For More information contact us at:
Center for Professional Studies
Phone: (978) 665-3636
Fax: (978) 665-3639