Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The Charlie Award

Whether you are a new psychology teacher or a seasoned veteran - the name "Charlie Blair-Broeker" is synonymous with high school psychology and the deadline to apply for the coveted APA TOPSS Charles T. Blair-Broeker Excellence in Teaching Awards is coming up soon (February 15th, 2017). The award features a cash prize of $500, a Worth Publishers credit of $500, and a free 2018 TOPSS membership.

The award was named so in 2015 after Blair-Broeker retired from Cedar Falls High School (Iowa) where Blair-Broeker taught psychology since 1978. Charlie's accomplishments are long and large - including being an AP reader, table leader, rubric master, and Question Leader, a College Board consultant, a past TOPSS chair, an NCSS presenter at various conferences, a winner of many teaching awards, and an all around good-guy.

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Charlie in retirement. 

I caught up with Charlie, on the eve of the awards deadline and post tropical vacation, to ask him a few questions about his teaching, his retirement, and his legacy.

AR: If you had to sum up your career in six words, what would you say?
CBB: I had fun almost every day.

AR: What have you been doing in your retirement?
CBB: Well, I still teach a little at the community college and I'm still doing the AP reading and summer institutes. The biggest difference [between working and retirement] is the freedom to travel, read, sleep in, and go to the store when its not busy.

AR: How did it feel to have the APA TOPSS teaching award named after you?
CBB: The teaching award was a total surprise. I felt awkwardness and appreciation in equal parts.
It is enormously gratifying that people who know me well think so much of my efforts, but I know many excellent teachers have not had the recognition that I have been so fortunate to receive.

AR: What does it take to be a good teacher?
CBB: It would be nice if there was a single trait that made a good teacher, but I don't think there is. Among the most important are knowledge of content, passion for both subject matter and the educational process, the ability to motivate and inspire students, a sense of humor, and tolerance for bureaucratic BS.

And that, people, is why we all love Charlie. 👊

If you're a great psychology teacher, or know one, consider nominating them or apply for this award.

----Posted by Amy Ramponi

Tuesday, February 7, 2017


Hey, everyone! Happy Valentine's Day, Groundhog Day, and Fettuccine Alfredo Day. (That is a real thing, by the way.)

There is A LOT of information out from the APA/TOPSS (Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools) for high school teachers this month. Here's a run down:

2016 APA/Clark University workshop participants and presenters.

Clark Workshop for High School Teachers  Clark Applications are being accepted NOW for the June 28-30th conference at Clark University in Worcester, Mass. Not only is this conference AMAZING, it is FREE to those selected to participate and will feature two spectacular high school psychology teachers, Dr. Joe Swope and Dr. Nancy Diehl. Application information can be found here. I have personally attended the Clark Workshop and it was a great opportunity to learn, network, and talk Psychology. ANYONE can apply and IB, general psychology, and AP Psychology teachers are eligible. If you've been teaching two years or twenty - anyone is welcome! Deadline is March 15th.

High School Outreach Grants - want to start a Psychology Club? An AP Psychology Review Day in your region? Is your state woefully lacking in professional development for high school psych teachers - START. A. TOPSS. GROUP. Seriously, there is $$$MONEY$$$ available for you to do this in your region, state, or city! $5000 is available through the generosity of Dr. Lee Gurel. Deadline is April 15th. 

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Standing room only at the Fox Valley Review Day! 

Topss Essay Competition for Students:  Your students can win $250 and serious bragging rights in this essay competition on aging. FOUR winners will be selected. Deadline is March 15th.

APA Convention Pre-Convention Workshop: The APA Convention (in Washington D.C. this year) is a big deal - even BIGGER is the Pre-Convention Workshop that TOPSS hosts! The speakers are usually AMAZING and it is a great way to get into convention-mode.

Have a spectacular February, everyone!

Peace & Vitality,

----Amy Ramponi

Thursday, February 2, 2017

David Myers on Neurocore - let's think about the science

This post from the wonderful David Myers is a good read, and a potentially important one. If you are following the debate about the confirmation hearings for the nominee for Education Secretary, you may already know about her connections to Neurocore. Dr. Myers does a great job, I think, discussing what it might mean for a nominee to have connections to a therapuetic practice that makes claims without evidence.


posted by Rob McEntarffer