Conference helps AP, IB teachers collaborate

MAAP 2014

More than 85 teachers from across the state plus superintendents, MTA local association presidents and Secretary of Education Matthew Malone participated in the second annual professional development conference by the Massachusetts Aspiration and Achievement Partnership, a collaborative effort among educators aimed at increasing student participation in advanced placement courses and maximizing student results on AP tests.

The MAAP conference was held Monday, March 17, at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate teachers worked collaboratively in breakout sessions based on subject matter, with the goal of sharing best practices and strategies. The workshops were designed by educators from the districts that pioneered the MAAP initiative: Milton, Pembroke, Holbrook, Brockton and Taunton.

“It’s difficult to collaborate with peers from other districts,” said Milton AP English teacher Nick Fitzgerald during the conference’s opening remarks. He pointed to the necessity of such collaborations as many AP and IB instructors are the only ones in their buildings teaching a particular course.

The teachers came to the MTA-sponsored conference from more than two dozen different school districts stretching from Cape Cod to the Berkshires.

Malone, who was the school superintendent in Brockton when the MAAP initiative first took shape, praised the group’s ongoing efforts.

“You are caring, thoughtful, talented, highly skilled teachers,” Malone said in his keynote address. “You teach empathy. You are building the future citizenry. You make young people want to come to school.”

The hope among the MAAP participants is that students will pursue rigorous coursework and that a more diverse population of students will avail themselves of AP and IB courses.

In answering one teacher’s question about the effects of poverty on public education, Malone pointed out that closing racial and socioeconomic achievement gaps is at the heart of MAAP’s work.

“You are creating a pathway to success than can break the cycle of poverty,” Malone said. “Students who achieve qualifying scores [on AP exams for college credit and placement] can save money and make college more affordable.”

More photos of the conference are available on Flickr.