AP Summer Institute gives teachers new strategies, insights

painting of a man "burning out"

ECU alumnus Aaron Steele completed this artwork during the 2023 Summer AP Institute. (Contributed photo)

Teachers across North Carolina and beyond gained new insights into teaching AP courses through ECU’s Advanced Placement Summer Institute (APSI).

The success of ECU’s APSI lies in its online format — teachers in rural areas can participate who may not have the funds to travel to Greenville for in-person classes.

Through the NC AP Partnership, 73 ECU participants received scholarships that paid their registration as well as a $100 a day stipend.

Approximately 190 teachers participated in the online program from states including Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Nebraska, and countries including France, Brazil, and Myanmar. Since the program was online, participants joined classes using Zoom, which was provided by the North Carolina New Teacher Support Program.

Sponsored by ECU and the College Board, teachers worked with College Board consultants on curriculum and teaching strategies. This summer, ECU offered 11 courses including calculus, economics, European history, art & design, chemistry, English literature & composition, US government & politics, human geography, world history, and pre-calculus. Pre-calculus was a new section this year, and ended up being so popular that a second section was added to meet demand.

In the Art & Design APSI course, participants learned new strategies and conducted a mini sustained investigation — a series of consecutive visual forms to explore in detail a visual theme.

Aaron Steele, a participant and ECU alumnus, focused on enhancing an emotion in his artwork. His inquiry was, “how can fire be used as a medium and metaphor to capture a specific affect or emotional subject matter?”

“It was an idea I had always to try, but this class gave me a hands-on experience I can now share with my students,” he said.

His final piece was Angelus leather paint done on 8×10” cardboard with gasoline and matches.

“The concept was me — a father working 3 jobs — feeling being burnt out like a candle,” Steele said.

In addition to trying out a concept he had envisioned, Steele was able to understand exactly what review committees will be looking for from AP art students, which will help him prepare them better through his class.

“I highly recommend it (APSI) for the instructor and a new way to connect with educators with different perspectives and levels of expertise and support,” he said.