Advanced Placement Summer Workshop

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Stress relief techniques, mindfulness, note taking skills, study methods, and free lunch: what could be better?

Over the summer, Advanced Placement Workshops were held in the library to give extra help to first-time Advanced Placement and returning AP students. With a 12 step module, English teacher Michael Fraulino, Librarian Ann Buchanan, and Social Studies Department Head Elizabeth Mancini, were able to aid students in their summer work for AP classes, while also teaching them skills necessary for other classes and life.

This new workshop for AP students began when Buchanan realized the number of AP students had risen drastically. She and her colleagues noticed that AP students were having similar issues with their classes. At the same time, Colleen Weiner, the principal, decided to create a support group through the school for AP students. Weiner, Buchanan, Fraulino, and Mancini teamed up to create just that. They created the curriculum and Weiner sent out the invitations to all AP students.

The AP summer workshops ran from August 20 to August 24, for three hours each day. When students arrived, they had lunch together, starting off with a social activity. Then, with full stomachs and new friendships, they started to discuss the module of the day.

“We create 12 modules,” said Buchanan, “ranging from learning time management skills to stress management skills.”

After this session, students were able to stay in the library for extra help on their summer work for their AP classes. Although their specific AP teachers were not there to help, Buchanan and Fraulino were able to help them learn skills that can be used for any class, such as annotating, creating outlines, or breaking down problems.

After the first session, the teachers analyzed what students needed more help on for their AP classes, which helped them choose which modules to teach for future sessions.

Fraulino said, “We adhered our teaching to the students of course. This is for the students so the students choose what they need more help on as a whole and we just administer the module.” The most popular module requested by AP students was stress management. Thus, that session was administered for a longer amount of time and more frequently than other modules.

The organizers were not the only ones buzzing about the AP workshop. Students who attended the workshop loved the experience.

Rhaquan Smith, a junior and first-time AP student, loved the workshop and recommends it to all students. He said, “I really enjoyed the AP workshop. It made me feel much more comfortable walking into my AP classes this year as before I went I was nervous. Being a minority is challenging enough but since the school has opened its doors for many more students to take AP classes it has been an amazing experience.”

Over 40 students attended each session, an outstanding outcome for a first-time event. There was a great amount of diversity at each session and many students spoke with and learned alongside students they had never met before this workshop.

The only downside to this workshop was conflicts with other sports and activities at the school. The workshop started at 11:30 for lunch and ended by 3:00, which seemed to overlap with many sports practices. To remedy this, next summer the hours will be longer and students will be able to come and go as they need to, rather than a designated time to arrive.

Throughout this school year, there will be after school sessions just like the workshops held during the summer. Workshops will be scheduled depending on when most students can attend and students will be able to suggest modules to learn more about.

In addition to creating these educational workshops, Buchanan, Fraulino, and Mancini have turned one of the labs in the library into a safe place for AP students to work and study for their AP classes. Every period, an AP teacher will be in the lab to help students with their AP work. The Academic Resource Center, also known as the ARC, will be a quiet environment with support and comfy chairs.

The school hopes that introducing such beneficial workshops and facilities for AP students will help students excel this year and for years to come. It is important for AP students to take advantage of this resource and spread the word to their fellow AP students. Updates and information about these workshops, modules, and the Academic Resource Center can be found on the school’s twitter, google classroom, or the library.

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