The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

March 24, 2014

Fulton eyes AP chemistry course

By Amy Kent Herald Staff Writer
The Clinton Herald

---- — FULTON, Ill. — Next year, students at Fulton High School could have an opportunity to do something no Fulton Steamer has done before them — take an advanced placement chemistry course.

For the first time in River Bend history, the district is hoping to offer the college-level equivalency class during the 2014-2015 school year, but a few laboratory equipment upgrades are in order before that can become a possibility.

In order to ensure their chemistry facilities are state of the art, or at least on par with advanced placement requirements, River Bend School Board member Eric Fish, Fulton High School Principal Chris Tennyson and Fulton High School science instructor Stacy Gates earlier this month began developing a plan to fund the substantial upgrades.

“There is certain lab equipment and certain materials that we need to qualify for an AP certification,” Gates said. “And we thought there were enough businesses in town that could help out by offering some funding for that equipment.”

So with assistance from Fish and Tennyson, Gates was able to create a fund-raising initiative called the Fulton High School Science Donation and Grant Fund to generate some interest, and money, for the Fulton High School science department.

They’re hoping this initiative will raise the needed $25,000 for their upgrades and course start-up, and are feeling confident that it is feasible.

“It’s really amazing how we were able to get this all together,” Tennyson said during a recent River Bend School Board meeting. “And most of the credit should go to Ms. Gates because she really spearheaded this whole thing.”

Already the three have seen interest from area businesses which Gates said have made soft commitments to the effort and expect that as they begin to reach out to larger industrial sponsors like Agri-King, LyondellBasell and Exelon, reaching their goal will become a distinct possibility.

Once they are able to raise the $25,000 and improve the facility that the entire Fulton High School science department will have access to, Gates will undergo rigorous AP training and receive certification to instruct the higher-level chemistry class students are waiting for.

In fact, students are anticipating the arrival of the new course so much that some have already started signing up for next year’s inaugural semester.

“There’s a number of our high level students that are showing interest in this and all of our AP classes,” Tennyson said. “And already I have students and parents telling me how excited they are to have this available to them so I think it will be very successful.”