Despite inclement weather Saturday morning, almost 700 students proved they valued education by attending the Advanced Placement (AP) Student Conference at Ben Davis High School.
Students from Ben Davis, Speedway, Pike, and Westfield high schools participated in the conference, which started at 8:30 a.m. The conference is offered through the Advanced Placement Training and Incentive Program in Indiana (AP-TIP IN). The AP-TIP IN program is administered by the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Educational Initiatives.
Bryan Passwater, representing Notre Dame as the program’s statewide math content director, said the program was started when the National Math and Science Initiative realized the need for more STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education.
“The National Math and Science Initiative about seven years ago ran this program and they had six pilot states across the country — Indiana was not one of them,” Passwater said. “They give these states five years of funding and after five years the states should be finding their own funding sources through private local companies. The program was a huge success. They got more kids in AP classes and they had a ton of more kids passing AP exams. Because of the success that those six states had — the pioneer states — they added Indiana two years ago.”
Passwater said the program in Indiana started out in nine high schools the first year and has added 11 this year, with Ben Davis being one of them.
“We focus on math, science and English,” he said. “It’s a STEM initiative, but we have to have writing skills obviously to do that.”
The conference plays out basically like a typical school day and provides students with an opportunity to get extra education in any of those areas.
“It’s geared specifically toward AP topics that will help get you ready for the AP exam,” Passwater said. “(The students) get a big schedule. There are math, science, English presenters here from all over the country … The kids look at the schedules and they can see different topics. There are six periods, 55 minutes each. They can basically look at where their weaknesses are. We give them the topics the week before.”