Partnership with NMSI preparing students for AP success

A districtwide partnership with the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) is helping HISD teachers better prepare their students for the rigor of Advanced Placement (AP) coursework and for success on the corresponding exams — particularly in the areas of STEM: science, technology, engineering, and math.

During the week of Aug. 10, Advanced Placement teachers from across the district gathered at Carnegie High School for the AP Summer Institute. The four-day event, which was facilitated by the Innovative Curriculum and Instruction and Department, included training with NMSI content experts in the AP areas of English, calculus, statistics, biology, chemistry, physics, environmental science, and computer science.

Teachers at the institute received intense training along with access to high-quality lessons, resources, and assessments through NMSI’s online library. Participating teachers also met in collaborative teams with NMSI trainers, AP lead teachers, and AP specialists to review comprehensive course syllabi, curriculum resources, and effective teaching strategies in their subject areas.

“These last few days have been amazing,” said Innovative Curriculum and Instruction Officer Adam Stephens. “The teachers have really been pushed to think about their teaching and I am really excited to see the impact this work has in their classrooms. Also, I think this training is a great way for teachers to begin the deep dialogue about their subjects that will continue for the duration of the year during the district wide AP PLCs.”

The number of students taking and passing AP courses over the past five years has increased dramatically, but HISD is hoping to raise those numbers even more, particularly in the STEM areas.

NMSI is a national organization whose mission is to improve STEM education in America by training teachers to inspire students to succeed in rigorous math and science courses and by recruiting and preparing more college students to become dedicated math and science teachers. HISD began a partnership with the organization in 2013, which included teacher training at 10 high schools. As a result, the number of students taking AP courses and scoring a 3 or higher on the corresponding exams has increased significantly.