First time at DYRHS – Advanced Placement Chemistry course

BY Julia Sigalovsky

Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School

Project Description
“The goal of this project is to bring Advanced Placement Chemistry course to Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School for the first time in the history of the school.

Science department at DYRHS is a team of highly qualified teachers who dedicated their careers to igniting live-long love for science in their students. Traditionally, the school offers multiple science subjects such as biology, chemistry, physics, ecology, Earth and space science, anatomy and physiology, biotechnology, and many others. We are very proud with the wide variety of course that help expose students to many science disciplines!

Historically, the emphasis has been on biology with the Advanced Placement course selection limited to AP Biology and AP Physics 1, the later being offered mostly every other year.

Chemistry is represented by a first year introductory course that covers about two-thirds of the state standards in high school chemistry. Rich in content and hands-on lab experiences, the course is very popular among students; it triggers a substantial interest in continuing studying chemistry on a higher level. With many students interested in biochemical and biomedical careers, their college admission applications are greatly supported by the AP Biology course that is traditionally very strong at DYRHS. However, there was never an AP Chemistry course to give student equally strong exposure in chemistry.

The goal of this application is to fill this void and respond to a strong demand for starting an AP Chemistry course at DYRHS.”

How will the project be evaluated (e.g. how will you gauge its success)
“The project will be evaluated by student participation and by the AP Chemistry exam results.

1. Based on the inquiries I received over my 6-year tenure at DYRHS and based on the number of students who opt to take AP Chemistry via Virtual High School (VHS) online, I estimate that between one (24 students) to two sections (48 students) will participate in the program. In February 2018, I will include the AP Chemistry course in the science course offering and, from collected responses, will know how many students are interested in taking the course.

3. The results will be evaluated based on the standard assessment methods that include multiple formative and summative assessments throughout the year. Special attention will be paid to student success in the lab skills development. such as knowledge of chemistry lab techniques, lab equipment operation, creating lab protocols based on the given lab objectives, written discussions of the lab sources of errors, and suggestion of the technique improvements.

3. Participating students will have an opportunity to take the AP Chemistry exam in May 2019. The results will be obtained in July 2019. The project evaluation will be done after the results are obtained, analyzed, and compared with the national statistics. I expect the results to be on par or better with the national results.”

Benefit to the students and the school
“There are multiple important benefits for the students:

1. The course will provide the students with exposure to college-level chemistry that was not available to them before. While VHS AP Chemistry course is available, only a few students were taking it because without a teacher, based only on the online information, it is really difficult for most students to adequately learn high-level content and skills. In addition, the adequate laboratory skills are very hard to obtain outside of professional teacher guidance. This AP Chemistry course will give the students an opportunity to really understand the science of chemistry and to acquire lab skills on the college level.

2. This exposure will substantially broaden their horizon. Students will be able to make an informed decision regarding their college and professional career. New possibilities not known to them before will be open to them, including, but not limited to careers such as chemical research and development, chemical engineering, biochemical engineering, pharmaceutical science, cheminformatics, crystallography, materials science and new materials development, toxicology, formulation and process chemistry, and may others.

3. Having an AP exam success in such central and fundamental science as chemistry under their belt will give students additional huge boost for their college applications regardless of their choice of a college major, but especially in all STEM majors. This course will give DYRHS students substantial advantage in the very competitive field of college applications and admissions.”

Timeline of Project (when will you do the project, if applicable)
“1. If awarded the grant, in February 2018, I plan to announce the new course to 10th-11th grade students and compile the list of students. I will determine how many sections I will have in the following 2018-19 school year.
2. I plan to complete all paperwork need for the College Board’s approval of the course by the March 1 2018 approval window opening.
3. I will start the materials and equipment ordering process in May 2018; I will purchase the required materials by the end of the school year.
4. The course will start in Sept 2018 and continue throughout the 2018-19 school year. The first AP Chemistry exam will take place in May 2019.
5. The results will be available in July 2019. I will analyze the results and compare my student statics with the national statistics. I will create a plan to further modify the course and the instructional strategies to improve the results.”