Author Archives: kschabilion

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Visual Guide to IOAPA Middle School Courses

We are excited to share the new IOAPA Middle School Course infographic using data and feedback from 2016-2017 IOAPA students and mentors! This, along with our high school infographic and other useful information, can be found on our website, on the Support Materials page. Use this information to guide registration decisions for fall (before August 17th) and spring (opening November 1).

2016-2017 IOAPA Middle School Infographic

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Visual Guide to IOAPA High School Courses

We are excited to share the new IOAPA High School Course infographic using data and feedback from 2016-2017 IOAPA students and mentors! This, along with our middle school infographic and other useful information, can be found on our website, on the Support Materials page. Use this information to guide registration decisions for fall (before August 17th) and spring (opening November 1).

2016-2017 IOAPA High School Infographic

I Signed Up For IOAPA – Now What?

It’s almost back-to-school time again, and many teachers and students are beginning to prepare for the upcoming year. Whether you registered for IOAPA courses before you left for summer break, or plan to do so before August 17th, you might be wondering about next steps for getting started with IOAPA. Here are a few things to expect or consider.

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Important Dates

  • If you have not already completed the registration process, be sure to do so by August 17th so that you can get into the course(s) you want.
  • Look for course vendor access information to arrive in your email inbox sometime during the week of August 21st. Be sure to keep an eye on your “junk” or “spam” folder, too, because sometimes they accidentally get sorted there.
  • Classes officially begin on August 28th. If you don’t have login information yet, don’t panic – the first week of class is something of an orientation period, and students can easily catch up if they need to.
  • Keep an eye out for an email from IOAPA at the beginning of the semester with pertinent details for the upcoming year. You may need to add ioapa@belinblank.org to your whitelisted email addresses to ensure that you receive correspondence from IOAPA throughout the year.
  • The last day to drop a course without a fee is September 15th. For more information about our drop policies, check out the IOAPA handbook on our website.

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Other Considerations

  • Remember to obtain textbooks for your courses if needed. Recommended books for Apex courses can be found by clicking “Learn more” on the relevant course(s) from the IOAPA course catalog. Edhesive courses do not require textbooks.
  • Familiarize yourself with the course vendor’s system once you get your login information. For mentors, it will be useful to know how to view student progress, access answer keys, and proctor exams. Students will need to know how to access their course materials, submit assignments, and communicate with course instructors. Both vendors offer support guides and videos on the course websites. Additional support is available from Apex at support.apexlearning.com and from Edhesive at edhesive.com/coach.
  • For mentors and students in computer science courses, keep an eye on our blog for a “Using Edhesive” blog series over the coming weeks.

As always, visit our website for information about courses, support materials, and more. If you have additional questions, email ioapa@belinblank.org. Have a great start to the semester!

 

What Makes An Ideal IOAPA Mentor?

Mentors are an essential component of the IOAPA model, playing a significant role in the success of their students. Anyone can be an effective mentor, but there are a few characteristics and actions that stand out as especially important for enhancing student success.

  • Being available: It can be incredibly difficult to manage student and teacher schedules to allow for daily face-to-face meetings between students and mentors. IOAPA policy requires that courses be scheduled into students’ regular school day, but we recognize that a mentor may not be available 100% of the time that students are working on their courses. By making an effort to be available to students through email, frequent planned check-ins, and any other way deemed appropriate for students’ needs, mentors can help students overcome challenges as they arise while still allowing students to be independent.
  • Building positive relationships with students: Regardless of how easily accessible mentors are, students must be willing to reach out and ask for help from them in order for mentoring to be successful. Students who experience positive relationships with their mentor, especially early in the school year, will be more likely to seek help when needed, and the support and encouragement provided by the mentor will be more positively received.
  • Seeking support: Just as IOAPA students require support to succeed in their courses, IOAPA mentors can benefit from support at times – be it emotional support, logistical help, or content assistance. The mentor support network (more information available in the IOAPA Handbook) can be a source for all areas; more experienced mentors can provide suggestions for overcoming challenges, or empathize regarding difficult situations. Other sources of support include staff in your building(s), course instructors, the IOAPA website, and the support forums available through Edhesive for computer science courses.
  • Encouraging positive and healthy work habits: For many bright students, participation in IOAPA may be one of the first times they are experiencing challenging academic coursework. Mentors can help students develop coping strategies for dealing with frustration, perfectionism, and other issues that arise. Mentors can also model healthy habits, including taking breaks and engaging in self-care. These non-academic supports will be equally, if not more, necessary than content help for IOAPA students’ success.

For more on the policies and requirements for offering IOAPA courses, visit www.belinblank.org/ioapa. If you have specific questions, email ioapa@belinblank.org.

Top Five Reasons to Consider AP

As we begin to approach the start of a new school year, some students may still be deciding whether an AP course is right for them. Here are some reasons to consider AP courses.

5.   Experience college-level work while still in high school. AP students learn what it takes to be successful in college. Taking AP courses can help students develop the time management & study skills, as well as the confidence in their abilities, that will facilitate success once they reach college.

4.   Strengthen college applications. A College Board study found that many colleges and universities look favorably on students with AP experience. Because AP courses are audited and approved by the College Board, post-secondary institutions are familiar with the level of rigor and can assess how the knowledge and skills emphasized in the AP course compare to their own course offerings.

3.   Earn college credit. Many colleges and universities provide college credits for earning a qualifying score on AP Exams. Search for specific schools’ credit policies at https://apstudent.collegeboard.org/creditandplacement/search-credit-policies.

2.   Skip the “101”s. In addition to earning credits for AP, students who achieve high AP Exam scores in high school often find themselves placed into higher level coursework once they reach college. This means that while their peers are sitting through Math 101, AP students can use the time to take higher level courses or electives.

1.   It’s a challenge! AP courses go beyond the basics, giving students access to greater breadth and depth of content while moving through material at a faster pace. This can be the perfect fit for students who need more than a general education class can provide.

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If you or your students want more information about AP, check out https://apstudent.collegeboard.org/exploreap! For more on our IOAPA courses, visit www.belinblank.org/ioapa.

APTTI 2017 Recap

We had such a great week of AP training at the end of June!

APTTI English Literature & Composition 2017-4

More than 100 teachers participated in 8 AP workshops in science, technology, math, language arts, and history. They are now certified by the College Board to teach those courses in their schools!

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They also got to take home some AP materials to get them started in their courses!

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Interested in becoming an AP teacher? Keep an eye on our website (belinblank.org/aptti) and the blog for details on next year’s APTTI. If you’re curious about other ways to offer AP courses to your students, visit belinblank.org/ioapa.

New for 2017-2018: Environmental Science Classes

We are thrilled to present IOAPA’s newest offerings, available now for Fall 2017 registration: AP Environmental Science for high school students and Environmental Science for middle schoolers.

High school students can register for AP Environmental Science to learn about the natural world, identify environmental problems, and examine solutions for resolving and preventing them (College Board). Suggested prerequisites include two years of lab science courses (one year each of life science and physical science) and one year of algebra. This is a two-semester, lab science course, and required materials can be found here. Learn more about this course from Apex Learning.

Students in 6th through 8th grade can enroll in Environmental Science to explore the biosphere, the environment in which organisms live on Earth. This is a two-semester course, and there are no recommended prerequisites. This course includes a lab component, and students and mentors can choose to complete “dry” labs, which do not require additional materials, or “hands-on” labs, which require materials listed here.

For more information and to see all of our course offerings, visit belinblank.org/ioapa.

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