AP Chem in East Oakland, CA

Our Needs: Probeware and other materials necessary for collecting and analyzing data in guided-inquiry labs for the AP Chemistry curriculum.

^Collecting data with limited materials can be difficult. We are currently limited to pretty basic qualitative observations rather than much quantitative data. 

About Me: I am a 2011 Teach for America alumna and a graduate of the University of Virginia and Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. This is my 5th year of teaching at my original school site. Through conversations with many current and former students, I recognized the need for a more rigorous science elective and I am determined to meet that need.

^My freshman from my first year of teaching graduated this spring;  four of these graduates plan to major in STEM fields (engineering, computer science, biology, and nursing). 

35 students have requested to enroll in my first ever section of AP Chemistry and are already working ontheir summer pre-work and have committed to spend 5-10 hours per week during the year studying independently and in study groups. My principal has approved about $2,000 worth of chemicals, glassware, and some other basic lab materials to be used for both AP Chemistry and my regular (pre-AP) Chemistry class. However, the AP Chemistry curriculum requires 25% of class time to be devoted to laboratory investigation, which for us means about 1 lab per week. In order to ensure we cover all required topics before the AP exam, the students have already committed to attending a 1 hour additional lab section outside of school hours; in an effort to keep costs down, I am only requesting enough materials for half of the class at a time, working in groups of four, and I plan to offer two lab sections per week outside of my normal teaching hours to accomodate all interested students, in addition to my regular office hours to help students study problem sets or write their lab reports. 

I feel honored to offer this opportunity to these brilliant and ambitious scholars, and I consider this sacrifice of my time to be completely necessary to support their success. 

^Students hungry for knowledge attending a Saturday lecture for high school students at UC Berkeley. 

About Us: We are a public charter school in East Oakland serving nearly 100% students of color (primarily Latino and African American) and low income families (approximately 90% receive free and reduced lunch). Out of over 35 schools in the network of Aspire Public Schools, we are the first and only school to offer AP Chemistry as an elective for our juniors and seniors. I am offering the class entirely in response to student demand: almost half of the juniors and seniors expressed interest in founding the course, and 35 students completed applications and are currently working on summer pre-work for our first year of AP Chemistry.

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  • Anika Chasuk 
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Shannon Sullivan 
Oakland, CA
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