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CPSB members, educators attend AP conference

Last Modified: Friday, August 01, 2014 11:09 AM

By Emily Fontenot

Members of the Calcasieu Parish School Board and select educators from around the district attended the national Advanced Placement Annual Conference in Philadelphia last month.

Stephanie Rogers, assistant principal at Sam Houston High, said that during each session she attended, she learned something new that she plans to take back to her school.

Rogers said she was excited about attending the conference because of the progress Sam Houston has made over two years in implementing a structured AP program. She said her hope is that schools from around the district realize the importance of offering a variety of AP courses to students.

“We’re doing a disservice to our students if we don’t give them every option that’s out there,” she said. “If our kids are going to sign up and dedicate their time and the parents are going to dedicate the money to take that test, our teachers need to be teaching it at the rigorous level it needs to be taught at.”

Nicole Fontenot, school system consultant for advanced studies, said one of her biggest concerns has been accountability among AP teachers and consistency in rigor in AP classes districtwide. She said her hope is that the conference unites educators by reinstating the importance of AP rigor and providing a standard that each AP teacher will be held accountable to.

Fontenot said she chose educators from different corners of the district to ensure every school is kept abreast of AP policy and given fresh ideas from schools around the nation with successful AP programs.

She said one of the main things she benefited from at the conference was personally connecting with another educator in her same position as a new administrator. She said the conference allowed educators to share classroom do’s and don’ts.

The six educators who attended the conference were required to outline how they would deliver the information they learned, and they will be required to provide proof that they have done so in the future. Fontenot said she hopes every school will benefit from the conference as educators continue to take what they’ve learned to their colleagues back home.

Mitzi Wilkinson, school system head of counselors, said she will share what she learned with all the high school counselors in the district. Wilkinson said she came back with a better understanding of the importance of AP classes for all students, not just the advanced learners.

Taking AP courses improves learning skills and ACT scores even for students who don’t score well on end-of-course tests, she said. Her hope is that counselors realize AP’s importance for every student.

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