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Barry Vella

Students & parents - thanks for your permission to use these photos on our Venice page. If you would like to be removed, please let Mr. Vella know anytime!

      Mr. Vella has taught AP Chemistry, Chemistry, Physics, and Honors Chemistry and has enjoyed serving in many different outside the class positions. He currently serves as Science Department Chairperson, but has also worked as chemical safety coordinator, after school tutor, lead Chemistry teacher, stage coordinator, and 10 years ago- even a musician in the Venice 3rd quarter pep/rock band.  He has also been active in the UCLA AP Readiness Chemistry program for 17 years and has recently been working with the UC Riverside AP Readiness program, as UCR has just started their own AP Readiness program in 2016.

     Mr. Vella loves Chemistry and Physics and highly encourages students to start now and prepare your best for college level work- to strive for excellence in Math and Sciences and to study academically challenging AP science courses. Probably the most challenging three courses in high school are AP Calculus, AP Chemistry, and AP Physics.  Aim high!  Try to take all these courses. And if you only end up taking two of these - you still stand out greatly among college/university applicants, most college applicants do not even take one of these courses.


The AP Chemistry curriculum offers the most lab experiments and covers more content material than any other science course.  For this reason, the College Board offers AP Chemistry students the opportunity to earn potentially 8 semesters hours (1 full year) of college credit by passing the AP Exam with a 3, 4, or 5.  AP Chemistry is a college level course designed for students who are planning to attend a 4 year college or university - and who hope to earn college credit by passing the AP exam. Any college bound student is welcome to take AP Chemistry, but for students who are aiming to major in a health profession, in engineering, or in a science field  (Medical School, Pharmacy, Dental Nursing, Engineering, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, etc...) AP Chemistry is a must. Don't wait until college before you take a challenging Chemistry course ; be prepared!

AP College Board Chemistry website

AP College Board Course Description (download pdf file)

AP Chemistry Exam details:



Honors Chemistry is a college prep lab course - it is an advanced Chemistry course for students  who have an interest in advanced level science and labs, who are definitely planning to attend a 4 year college or university,  and who are strongly considering pursuing careers in science, medicine, and/or engineering.


General Chemistry, like Honors Chemistry, is also a college-prep lab course.  It covers the most basic Chemistry content, in less detail than Honors or AP, but General Chemistry will prepare you for the entry level of coursework that you will find in almost any college classroom.


The following national standardized Tests are open to ALL Chemistry students, Honors Chemistry & General Chemistry as well as AP.  Participating in these standardized tests can be a great benefit in the college application process (potentially scholarships)!


American Chemical Society (ACS) Chemistry Olympiad:

Released (ACS) Chemistry Olympiad Exams:

College Board SAT II Chemistry Subject Exam info: Board Online Practice Exam for SAT II Chemistry: test-preparation-chemistry?practiceTestSectionIDKey=Subject.CHEMISTRY


Physics is an 11th/12th grade level college prep lab course that studies the interactions between matter, space, time, and energy.  Physics attempts to explain phenomena of the earth- motion, light, optics, magnetism, energy - using mathematical formulas.  Problem-solving sessions, group work, and lab experiments make up a big part of the Physics curriculum. General Physics, like General Chemistry, will prepare you for the entry level of coursework that you will find in almost any college classroom. 


LAUSD/ UCLA AP Readiness Program  For the past 17 years, Mr. Vella has worked as an AP Chemistry & Physics tutor/instructor for UCLA A.P. Readiness Program, ( ) a monthly AP Sciences & Math preparation course open to LAUSD students and teachers. AP students are not required to attend, but they receive valuable AP prep support, and extra credit for attending.


As the college logos on this page indicate, Mr. Vella is a big sports fan of the college he graduated from Auburn University, where he studied Pre-Pharmacy and foreign languages before attending Loyola Marymount for his post-graduate teaching credential.  Mr. Vella also has completed many post grad courses through UCLA Extension, and he has earned National Board Certification in Chemistry.  And has also served on the LAUSD textbook selection committee (AP Chemistry), the LAUSD IG Team (Instructional Guide for General /Honors Chemistry) and on the LAUSD Standardized tests Review Team (for Chemistry Periodic Assessment.)



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