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State Helping Train AP Teachers To Achieve Classroom Success
By Kera Mashek
July 16, 2014


The state is putting a big emphasis on getting schools to incorporate more high-level advanced placement courses. This week, the state's hosting an opportunity for educators to undergo intensive professional development training to help them succeed.

From physics and chemistry experiments, to studio artwork, dozens of teachers are taking on the role of student this week. during the Advanced Placement Summer Institute in Charleston.

"It takes a little bit of our summer away, but it's well worth it," said Roger Spry, Tolsia High School AP biology and physics teacher.

During this intensive week of training, educators are learning the latest teaching techniques while keeping on top of the newest required standards for AP classes.

Laurel Ferguson's been teaching for about 15 years and admits when she first started teaching advanced placement, it was tough. Her first year, none of her students passed the AP exam. But taking time to better herself, has made a world of difference.

"The more years that I've spent here studying and working with the various consultants they've brought, I've just become the calculus queen!" said Laurel Ferguson, Spring Valley High School AP calculus teacher.

Now more students are taking Ferguson's classes and nearly all of them pass the AP test. To stay sharp, she and a lot of teachers keep coming back to these training sessions year after year.

"We've gotten so many activities, so much meaning for the content that we're learning, I'm able to take that back to the classroom and the kids will probably have more fun with the materiel and have a better grasp of what everything means," said Ferguson.

That understanding of complex subject fields. puts AP students ahead of the game when they enter college and ultimately the work force.

"They're able to go to Marshall and WVU and Tech and check off the biology and the physics and enter in there with some good thinking skills behind them," Spry said.

"Because of the training I've had here with the WVCPD, they can match anybody in the country. Let's go!" Ferguson said.

This is the third year that West Virginia educators who teach AP classes have been required to attend these kinds of training sessions. Long-term, the state hopes to have solid proof that professional development breeds successful teachers, who in turn have successful students.

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