West Virginia AP teachers are getting schooled

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Teachers across the state are in Charleston this week to brush up on their Advanced Placement skills.

The Center for Professional Development is holding its Advanced Placement Fall Institute Tuesday through Friday. They’re all one-day sessions, with new educators coming in each day. The AP subjects range from English and calculus to psychology and studio art.

David DeStefano is a math teacher at Martinsburg High School. He was on hand for Tuesday’s AP calculus session. This is his first year as an AP instructor.

“Teaching it for the first time is a real challenge,” he explained

He said any help he can get is more than welcome.

“I’m basically here to get some more information, figure out some of the intricacies of teaching this subject, because it is a very rigorous course,” DeStefano said.

The educators are doing more than just learning about how to teach the class. DeStefano said they’re solving a few calc problems to make sure their math skills are up to par.

“I want to give back to our kids and get them to the point to where they feel successful taking the exams and hopefully getting college credit for it,” he said.

AP classes are big business these days, according to DeStefano, for those students who can pass the test and receive college credit.

“Over three million U.S. kids take AP exams. That’s three college credits per kid,” according to DeStefano. “Some kids take multiple AP courses. They get college credit. Some kids can save up to a half of a semester or a full-year of college and that’s big money for some of these kids.”

DeStefano said homework for his AP class can take an hour a night or sometimes more. It’s not for every student. But he hopes the ones enrolled in his class are able to use what he has taught them to pass the exam.

All AP teachers must take part in professional development to enhance their classroom instruction each year. It’s part of a West Virginia Board of Education policy passed in 2011. The fall institute is one way to get those credits.

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