Newburgh Enlarged City School District Increases Number of Teachers Qualified to Teach Advanced STEM Courses

Teachers Trained as Part of a $4.8 Million New York State AP® STEM Program

     Teachers from the Newburgh Enlarged City School District participated in a five-day STEM Summer Institute over the summer, part of a new initiative providing advanced course work professional development training for teachers in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) disciplines throughout New York state. This initiative is the first statewide STEM professional development program for educators teaching advanced course work, such as AP® science and mathematics courses.

     The program began this summer, and will continue through 2014, strengthening the teaching skills of both new and experienced middle school and high school STEM teachers from districts with high-needs schools. As a result, the number of teachers qualified to teach Pre-AP® and AP STEM courses will increase, enabling schools and districts to prepare a larger number of students for college-level study and career trajectories in these disciplines. For the 2012-13 school year, Christine Courtsunis, Veronica Dunham, Michael Martin Jr., Marlayna Pritchard, and Norliza Ryason are among the 700 teachers who will be bringing enhanced teaching skills to students across the state.

     “The STEM training provided me with many sources for guiding my students in inquiry based labs. Using inquiry rather than teacher guided labs will better prepare them for more advanced science and math courses,” explained Pritchard.

     AP STEM courses cultivate critical thinking, experimentation and problem solving. Research shows that students who take AP math or science exams are more likely than non-AP students to earn degrees in physical science, engineering or life science disciplines — fields leading to some of the careers most essential to the nation’s future economic health and prosperity.

     STEM teachers in schools identified as being in improvement status are the focus of this program. The program will help improve instruction, provide greater course offerings, and increase AP student participation in AP STEM courses. The College Board assists public school districts and charter schools in creating and sustaining ongoing professional development in advanced courses in the STEM disciplines through a blend of face-to-face and online instruction provided at no cost through the New York State Education Department’s STEM program.

     “New York is already seeing growth in the participation of minority and low-income students in AP courses and in their success as well,” New York State Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. said. “This initiative will help us build on that progress. The College Board is uniquely qualified to prepare and support teachers in bringing challenging Advanced Placement STEM courses to students in high-poverty, low-performing schools.”

     For more information, please visit