By Heather Lusk
Zionsville resident Mike Dollens was recently named the Advanced Placement – Teacher Investment Program Science Teacher of the Year by the Institute of Educational Initiatives.
The AP-TIP program was created to increase the scores for students taking AP classes at Indiana high schools.
One of Dollens’ goals is for students to exceed their own expectations on the AP exam.
Dollens, who teaches advanced placement chemistry and physics, has taught science at Lebanon High School since 1999. He began teaching AP physics when it was added to the curriculum several years ago. The AP Chemistry class was revamped at the same time.
LHS has participated in the AP-TIP grant program for three years. Last year, AP English teacher Angela Coddington was recognized as Teacher of the Year at LHS.
One goal of the grant is to ensure that students taking the AP classes are better prepared for college classes.
“We want to give our kids as much of a chance to earn college credit as possible while still actually giving them a chance,” Dollens said. “We want to put them in a position to succeed when they leave.”
Dollens said the redesigned AP physics class focuses more on concepts and design than in previous years, when the honors version of the class was math-based. He has heard from former students that the change benefitted them upon graduation.
As someone who teaches juniors and seniors, Dollens applauds the work of teachers who work with the students before they become upperclassmen.
“I see them last,” he said. “A lot of the teachers that the kids see before me put them in a position to be successful.”