Maria Schmidt

Maria Schmidt was the Supervisor of Social Studies K-12 for the Westfield Public Schools in Westfield, N.J. She taught social studies at Westfield High School and authored the curriculum and initiated the law-related education courses and AP United States Government and Politics course there. She is an attorney, former adjunct professor of education at Seton Hall University, former trustee of the NJ State Bar Foundation and member of its Law-Related Education Committee. Dr. Schmidt has served as a Reader, Table Leader, and Question Leader at the annual scoring of the AP Government and Politics examination and currently serves as a consultant for the College Board, leading AP workshops and summer institutes throughout the United States. She has authored teacher’s guides for the teaching of the AP US Government and Politics course and, over the past several years, has worked with college textbook publishers in developing AP US Government and Politics teaching ancillaries for use with their U. S. Government and Politics textbooks and has reviewed and edited AP US Government and Politics test preparation materials.
2024 Distance Learning APSI – AP U.S. Government & Politics
Welcome to our 2024 Distance Learning AP Summer Institute in US Government and Politics.  Our distance learning course will include both synchronous and asynchronous instruction each day and participants will have the opportunity to receive individual feedback and ask individual questions during virtual office hours that will also be scheduled each day.
This course will provide you with an overview of the basic structure, content, and skills necessary for an AP course in Government and Politics: United States. We will focus on the development of the course using the redesigned curriculum framework as well as the development of learning activities and teaching strategies for use with each of the big ideas, learning objectives, essential knowledge and skills included in the redesigned framework. Emphasis will be placed on using multiple resources in the teaching of the course as well as on developing the skills necessary for preparing students for success on the AP examination format. An analysis of AP examination questions will be included as well as a review of the standards for the grading of the exam. A major portion of the course is devoted to the development of units and lessons for an AP U.S. Government and Politics course by participants, including the learning activities and resources necessary for the implementation of such a course.

This course is suitable for teachers new to AP U. S. Government and Politics as well as those experienced in the teaching of the course. Teachers with experience in teaching this AP Course will review a variety of approaches to course structure, and they will gain numerous teaching strategies to add to their toolboxes. Teachers new to this AP Course will learn about the course requirements as well as various curriculum strategies and teaching techniques that will assist them in offering students a successful AP US Government and Politics course.

Please have the textbook that you will be using in your course (if that is known) available during our sessions as well as and any other materials you may be using in the teaching of your course.  You should also have a copy of your 2024-2025 school calendar available for planning purposes.  These will be used as you work to develop units and lessons aligned to the curriculum requirements in the Course and Exam Description.

Synchronous instruction will be delivered using Zoom.  Additionally, my Canvas page will be shared and used to share additional materials and for asynchronous instruction.  Some materials may be better utilized in print format so access to a printer during our sessions would be helpful.
 U.S. Government & Politics AGENDA 2024
At the conclusion of this course participants will be able to: 
• Design, plan and implement an AP U.S. Government and Politics course.
• Develop familiarity with the components and content of the Course and Exam Description (CED) and make connections to the Curricular Requirements.
• Develop a curriculum, including activities and assessments, for all units, topics and skills included in the course.
• Implement various instructional strategies and tools to teach the content and skills in the Course and Exam description and to prepare students for the AP exam.
• Devise or revise a syllabus to align with course requirements.
• Make equitable access and attention to diversity and inclusion a guiding principle in designing instruction.  
• Develop familiarity with and utilize all the resources included in AP Classroom.
• Leverage the data in AP Classroom and interpret data within the Instructional    
     Planning Report to identify student strengths and weaknesses and reflect on 
     implications for instruction.
Day 1
Course Introduction
• Introductory Activity
• Diversity & Inclusion and Equity & Access
• Introduction to Curricular Requirements and Syllabus Development
• The Practice of Political Science: Development of Skills
• The Exam Format
The Course and Exam Description (CED)
  • Course and Exam Description Binder
 - Understanding the AP US Government Course              
- Understanding the Unit Guides
- Spiraling and Scaffolding
•  Applied Learning: The Political Science Research or Applied Civics Project
Day 2 
AP Classroom & AP Daily
• Using the AP Classroom Resources
                  -AP Daily
                  -Topic Questions and Progress Checks
                  -Question Bank (Including Practice Exams) 
                  -Interpreting Student Data
Instructional Resources
• The National Constitution Center’s Interactive Constitution
• Other Resources from the National Constitution Center
• Street Law Resources
• AP Central Resources and the AP Teacher Community
• Selection of Texts and Other Resources
Day 3
Strategies and Pedagogical Tools
• Tour of Instructional Approaches      
• Reading and Analyzing Required Documents
• Analyzing and interpreting Visuals
• Connecting and Applying Concepts
• Analyzing Quantitative Data
• Analyzing and Comparing Supreme Court Cases
• Writing an Argument Essay Like a Political Scientist
Developing Unit Guides
• Introduction to Planning and Developing Unit Guides
• Planning and Developing Curriculum and Lessons for Selected Units
Day 4 
The AP Exam
• Preparing Students for the Multiple-Choice and Free Response Questions
• Scoring the Exam
Unit Guides Presentations
• Participant Sharing Session of Unit Guides and Lessons for Units 1 – 5  
 Assess and Reflect
• Reflecting on Implications to Inform Future Instruction:  Using the IPR (Instructional Planning Report) to identify student strengths and weaknesses.
• Final Questions
• Evaluations and Closure