Teachers engage in summer learning

Published 11:03 am Tuesday, August 1, 2017

By CONNIE NOLEN / Community Columnist

In a recent broadcast, National Public Radio’s Scott Simon credited A+ College Ready for Alabama’s first-place finish in improved AP math, science and English scores over the last eight years. When Pelham High School was chosen to be part of the A+ College Ready grant, PHS teachers won summer opportunity. The A+ College Ready grant provides funding for AP teachers to become students and attend summer programs where we receive tools and wisdom to empower our students.

Working with experienced all-star teachers for four days is invigorating. These teachers share incredible resources that they’ve created, free textbooks, engaging video clips, articles they’ve discovered and, most importantly, they share ideas to keep course content relevant and students excited about the issues they’ll examine before writing.

Driving home from Advanced Placement Summer Institute at the University of Alabama, I know I’ll share my teacher’s advice.

“AP stands for Answer the Prompt,” says Mary Jo Zell, “and also Annotate the Prompt.”

Zell, a teacher at Keller High School in Texas is the MVP of all-star teachers. Each June, Zell attends the reading where AP Language tests are scored. Having recently participated in scoring our students’ tests, she shares her wisdom.

“This was a difficult test,” Zell says. “We’ll remember this 2017 test as one that really challenged our students.” After brief moments of consolation, Zell draws us into text, prompts and sample student responses. She reveals methods of coaching our student writers and shares resources and practices she uses to build the confidence of students and move them towards writing excellence.

Diann Frucci, A+ College Ready English Content Director, shares resources from her AP teaching career frequently and generously. Eternally positive, Frucci has an incredible knack for sending inspiring emails and for bringing master teachers to lead our Alabama training sessions.

Reflection, reading and summer training sessions are complete. I’m ready to meet my students, share the gifts I’ve received and join my classes in the hard work of producing writing that creates insight and persuades readers.

Listen to NPR’s entire broadcast featuring A+ College Ready President, Mary Boehm.