AP Vertical teaming is an essential component of a successful college readiness program as it ensures that teachers across a specific discipline are instituting rigorous and relevant coursework throughout all grade levels. The goal of vertical teaming is to equip students with the necessary foundational skills at each grade level, through vertical alignment of the curriculum, to ensure student success once they reach college level, AP courses. Vertical teams create a forum that fosters communication between teachers of different grade levels, improves accountability, and generates a common vision.
The Center for College Readiness facilitates customized district training for vertical teaming. For more information, please visit our Customized District Training webpage.
Our Vertical Teams training goals include:
According to Teri Marshall, author of AP Vertical Teams workshops for the College Board and current member of the AP English Language Test Development Committee, the core competencies of a highly functional and successful AP Vertical Team consist of the following:
COHERENCE: A coherent AP Vertical Team has a sense of unity and connectedness based upon a common understanding of the principles and philosophy of the College Board and its Advanced Placement Program. This provides a firm foundation on which the members of an AP Vertical Team can make decisions and set goals that are in clear support and observance of these tenets.
COMMITMENT: Commitment is synonymous with obligation, duty, and pledge. An AP Vertical Team is composed of individuals who are committed to the actualization and application of the mission of the AP Program and Pre-AP initiatives. The College Board trusts that the discipline-based AP Vertical Team will adhere to the principles of equity and excellence as it works to improve student participation and performance in the Advanced Placement Program.
COLLEGIALITY: Without the commitment to working towards a common set of goals and standards, collegiality cannot develop. The successful establishment of an AP Vertical Team depends upon the collegial relationship among its members. A collegial AP Vertical Team has continuous planning sessions on improving student learning and sharing expectations of quality work. . Ultimately, the collegial efforts of an AP Vertical Team will result in coherent school experiences and consistent academic expectations for students.
COLLABORATION: A collaborative team of teachers engages in mutual decision making to resolve curricular and instructional issues that impact student achievement. Student learning forms the foundation of all efforts of a collaborative team. The members of a collaborative AP Vertical Team feel secure in calling on one another to discuss new ideas or strategies that help build their expertise and contribute to student achievement. A collaborative spirit grows as members of the AP Vertical Team build trust among experienced and new members of the team, hold themselves accountable for attending meetings and implementing team decisions, and celebrate the progress and successes of their own achievements as well as their students.
The Lighthouse Initiative for Texas Classrooms The Lighthouse initiative is a teacher created resource that provides detailed alignment guides for ELA, Social Studies, Math and Science middle and high school educators. The goal of the initiative is to prepare students for success in advanced courses in high school and beyond.
Texas College and Career Readiness Program: Vertical Teams A group of education experts and teachers in four core disciplines that are joining forces at the state level to design a college ready curriculum for Texas.
AP Vertical Teams Guides (for purchase)These guides are designed to provide specific direction, training, and models for teachers in the same subject area across different grade levels. The goal of these resources is to provide tools that enable teachers across grade levels to move away from teaching in isolation.
Are Texas Middle School Students Prepared for High School? Examining the Effect of Middle School on High School Outcomes, Ed Fuller Ph.D., 2009.This paper examines the relationship between middle school achievement and high school outcomes. In particular, this study focuses on the relationship between the achievement of 8th grade students in Texas public middle schools and a series of high school outcomes.
Vertical Teaming: Making Connections Across Levels, Penny Kowal, Middle Ground, August 2002.An article in written from the perspective of an administrator on the value of vertical teaming at the middle school level.
Vertical Teaming: K-12 Teachers Engaged in Scientific Research in Rural Settings, Penny J. Gilmer, Florida State University, 2010.A case study that examines the impact of vertical teaming in a rural school district that is isolated from many resources that are available in larger cities and towns. The study concludes that vertical teaming from elementary to high school allowed students to obtain the needed content knowledge in spite of their relative isolation.
Curriculum Alignment Examples, Oregon GEAR-UP: English, Math, Science and Social Studies.These examples were created by the Oregon GEAR-UP staff to provide a brief overview of the curriculum alignment process for each subject area.