Manila teacher reaching her goals
Cindy Bunch, Advanced Placement (AP) Chemistry, Chemistry, Physics, and Physical Science teacher is reaching her goal to do what it takes to prepare her students at Manila High School for their future endeavors.
Bunch, a Manila native, has been teaching at Manila for 15 years. She graduated from Arkansas State University in 1997 and started teaching in the Manila District in August of 1998.
When the bell rings in May for the last day of the 2013 school year, Bunch will not be slowing down as she has been invited to be a reader for the AP Chemistry exam, followed by being accepted into the eight week Arkansas STRIVE research program.
Bunch recently received notice she was chosen as a reader for the AP Chemistry examination.
"This has been a four year process and I consider it an honor to be chosen," Bunch said.
She is looking forward to both activities this summer with the hopes to encourage and help her students by sharing the hands-on, research experiences she will receive.
"Again, I am feel honored to be able to participate in the research program and hope it will benefit my students in the coming years," Bunch said. "I have considered this before but it is quite a commitment and I wanted to be able to meet the commitment."
Bunch attended a summer training institute in 2009 and the instructor was an AP Reader, Valerie Ferguson, from Oklahoma.
"She encouraged us to apply explaining it would help us to understand how the AP exam is graded," Bunch said. "I applied in September of 2009 and was accepted in October. Being accepted does not automatically give you an invitation. It means you are approved for six years and on the waiting list to be a reader. I was very excited to be called and I am looking forward to the experience."
She will meet with college faculty and AP teachers from around the world in Louisville, Ky, who will be grading the response questions from the AP exams. The grading will take place June 1-7.
It is a large undertaking. According to the letter she received, Bunch will be among 12,000 college faculty and AP teachers from around the world in Louisville, Kansas city, Mo., Cincinnati, Ohio, and Salt Lake City, Utah, evaluating and scoring an estimated 18 million free-response answers on the AP
The AP Readers will receive training, interact with the AP Development committee, have the opportunity to discuss teaching strategies with college faculty and AP teachers, and benefit in many areas.
The Arkansas STRIVE program was founded in 19990. It gives teachers in science, math, and computer technology the opportunity to do summer research working beside professional scientists, engineers, mathematicians, and technology experts. She will have the chance to participate in curriculum development workshops learning to use the research experiences in her classrooms.
"It is an 8-week research project," Bunch said. "It is something I have wanted to do and I am happy to have been accepted."
It was a tough application process. Bunch applied submitting proof she is a highly qualified teacher in science. She had to have two letters of recommendation and put together a team of five local teachers who she will share the results of her research.
She will be assigned to a research facility. She is looking forward to summer program.
"One of my goals when I started teaching in Manila was to make the science department in Manila the best it can be," Bunch said. "I want my students to go to college and know how to work in a laboratory. I have had students come back after college and say they were prepared for college and that has been very rewarding."
Bunch joins with other Manila High School teachers in building strong AP programs. They started in 2004 and have expanded each year. In addition to AP Chemistry, AP courses are offered in English Lit., English Language, history, and calculus.
Last year Bunch had two out of her four AP Chemistry students score 4, receiving credit for General Chemistry I at Arkansas State University.