AP Summer Institute celebrates 25th anniversary, receives $441k grant to support teacher professional development

Staff members at UA Little Rock's Jodie Mahony Center for Gifted Education are preparing for the 25 anniversary of the Advanced Placement Summer institute. Photo by Ben Krain.

For the past 25 years, the Jodie Mahony Center for Gifted Education at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock has provided training for Advanced Placement teachers across Arkansas through the AP Summer Institute. 

“Summer 2019 is a milestone for the UA Little Rock AP Summer Institute. We are celebrating our 25th anniversary. We’ve come a long way from 60 teachers in the first year to what we are expecting in 2019,” said Dr. Ann Robinson, director of the Jodie Mahony Center.

This year, the Arkansas Department of Education awarded UA Little Rock a $441,800 grant to hold multiple AP Summer Institutes. More than 800 teachers are expected to attend one of three summer workshops in 40 areas of advanced placement during June and July. The grant allows a majority of the participating teachers to attend the workshop for free.

“It’s exciting to celebrate 25 years of Advanced Placement Summer Institutes making a difference for Arkansas teachers,” said Dr. Christine Deitz, associate director of the Jodie Mahony Center. “As educators, ourselves, we know the content learned and teaching strategies modeled during the institutes open important learning opportunities for Arkansas’s students.”

Established in 1994, the AP Summer Institute was created to provide AP teachers with the content-focused professional development they need to teach AP courses.

“The AP Summer Institute was created to serve advanced placement teachers and pre-advanced placement teachers a year later,” Robinson said. “It was the outcome of working collaboratively with Jodie Mahony, the author of legislation that established an Advanced Placement initiative in Arkansas.”

The late Jodie Mahony was an El Dorado lawyer who served 32 years in the Arkansas House of Representatives and Senate and spent his last years working on education issues with the House of Representatives staff.

Robinson said the summer institute ensures that pre-AP and AP teachers receive the training they need to be at the top of their game to teach academically challenging Advanced Placement courses to students.

“In the state of Arkansas, AP teachers are required to attend a summer institute every 5 years. If you want to be on top of your game and make sure your kids are getting the best, then you continue to go to the summer institute,” Robinson said. “Planning for a June institute begins in September. It takes a team to provide this kind of intensive and nationally recognized professional development. We are fortunate to have folks like Deborah Cook with her event planning experience and Becky Rogers, a former College Board faculty consultant working throughout the year to make every APSI, including our 25th anniversary institutes, memorable and effective for teachers.”

Staff members at UA Little Rock's Jodie Mahony Center for Gifted Education are preparing for the 25 anniversary of the Advanced Placement Summer institute. Photo by Ben Krain.
Staff members at UA Little Rock’s Jodie Mahony Center for Gifted Education are preparing for the 25th anniversary of the Advanced Placement Summer Institute. Photo by Ben Krain.
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