STEM Educator Spotlights
"Meet the Expert": White Plains Teacher Alexandra Danz Brings in Science Experts
News 12 meterologist Geoff Bansen was invited to come to White Plains Highlands Middle School as part of the "Ask the Expert" series, organized by Earth Science teacher Alexandra Danz. The series was funded as a mini-grant through the Wipro Science Education Fellowship, of which Ms. Danz is a Fellow, and will bring in various experts in the sciences to introduce real-life STEM professions to her students. Also scheduled is a NASA solar ambassador.
Summer STEAM Academy 2019 at Trinity School, New Rochelle
Carmen King appointed as Science Content Advisory Panel (SCAP) member for the 2019-2020 school year!
Wipro Science Education Fellow Carmen King, of the White Plains Public Schools, has been selected for SCAP. The Science Content Advisory Panel (SCAP) serves to support part of the Board of Regents’ Reform Agenda. The panel will “advise the New York State Education Department (NYSED) on the revision and implementation of New York State Learning Standards, and on the rigor and design of P-12 curriculum and assessments.”
Members of the SCAP are NYS P-12 teachers, administrators, curriculum and assessment specialists, and higher education representatives. They are charged with the task of providing written and verbal feedback to the Department regarding suggested resources, policies, and implementation strategies. Panelists act as a liaison between NYSED and their school or organization. As ambassadors of the planning work, they are key to the dissemination of timely information to local district educators, parents, students, and other key stakeholders.
Leana Peltier, New York Wipro SEF Cohort I Fellow and current District Coordinator of Tarrytown, was awarded nearly $10,000 in university and private funding to conduct a vertical professional learning community (V-PLC) with teachers in her district. Eight teachers of grades kindergarten through twelfth are participating in this program during the 2018-2019 school year and meet once every three weeks. This is the second year of the program. The team’s work is focused around understanding and implementing inquiry strategies of teaching and learning and the NGSS Science and Engineering Practices. Through this grant, Leana supports and facilitates a space that allows elementary, middle and high school science teachers to share and reflect on best science practices and provide content understanding in science. The teachers take turns facilitating demonstrations and activities and then work in groups of two (an upper grade teacher with a lower grade teacher) to co-plan their lessons. Another phase of this Science PLC is classroom observations. The elementary teachers visit a high school classroom and each high school teacher visits an elementary classroom. The observers take notes and then debrief the lesson at a meeting where the group follows a feedback protocol. When they have completed the program, they will earn in-service credits or a stipend for their participation. Leana is currently a doctoral student in Teachers College Columbia University’s Science Education program.
Trout in the Classroom: New Rochelle Trinity School Teacher Terri Agravat
Terri Agravat is a fourth grade teacher at Trinity Elementary School in New Rochelle, where she also organizes the annual Fourth Grade STEM Fair. She is currently one of only 14 teachers in the Mercy University NSF Grant Preparing STEM Master Teacher Fellows, which aims to strengthen STEM instruction in the teacher's classrooms. In the 2019/20 school year, Terri's class teamed with another fourth grade class for a program called, "Trout in the Classroom." In October, they received 100 brook trout eggs to raise in their 55-gallon classroom aquarium. During this eight-month period, students have helped to feed the trout and monitor water quality of the tank using water filtration devices they engineered, as well as learning about stream ecology, aquatic habitats, watershed protection, trout anatomy, and life cycle. This first-hand experience caring for this indicator species has helped to foster a sense of environmental stewardship in the students. While visiting with an educator from the NYC Department of Environmental Protection, the students were able to make direct connections between the water quality of their classroom tank and the watershed streams and reservoirs where their drinking water comes from. In April, they will release their trout into a state-approved stream. Throughout this field trip, students will observe a stream habitat up close, investigate the macro-invertebrates that trout eat in the wild, and explore a watershed forest on a nature hike.
Maria O'Brien, science teacher at Park Avenue Elementary School in Port Chester, is part of the school district's achievement at being "Carbon Neutral Now", an initiative by the UN. Port Chester schools have put an emphasis on good environmental practices and have offset 1900 tons of carbon produced by the schools by contributing to green project in India, which the students choose. "You have to keep working at it" O'Brien said. It's become part of our global education, our science. I really want the kids to internalize it."
Vincent Dougherty named as Co-Director of Staff Development Center, White Plains Public Schools
September 2019: Vincent Dougherty will work with the District Staff Development team and the Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction to build a cadre of teacher leaders in the district and to organize and coordinate Professional Development courses for K-12 White Plains teachers.
Vincent is a White Plains High School Chemistry teacher, and a Wipro Science Education Fellow.