Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Dream Big...

When teaching students, I believe one has to expect great things. Students usually go beyond what their teachers teach, when they have great teachers. The last post on an exciting high school, led me to post this one on dreaming big.

At one point, I volunteered or was employed at helping various elementary, middle, and high schools apply for grants to build their science programs. One thing I noticed in talking to teachers and students is that their vision was often limited when it came to designing a laboratory. For example, if I asked them to list or brainstorm or shout out anything that they would like to have in a new science lab at the school, I got answers like more pencils, paper. Even when I provided a list of equipment that I knew companies would be willing to donate, it was difficult to find schools interested. That amazed me. Initially, this response was typical at most schools I visited. I believe that perhaps it is because many of the students and teachers haven't visited well-equipped research laboratories, but, I am not sure if that is the reason. I can only say how very wonderful it is to have a school that has dreamed big and as a result provides a top quality science education.

If you haven't been exposed to a modern research laboratory for young scientists before now, consider that now you have. That vision is the first step toward having young people in your community having the science skills they need to create and keep jobs in your community.

Even when a grant isn't found, it is possible to gain access to needed laboratory equipment. While a particular school in Boston didn't have an electron microscope, students were able to gain access to one at the museum of science and could use it for research.

Another example of successfully dreaming big: Onehigh school student got a grant to go to Australia to study marsupials. Her research there enabled her to get a selection of scholarships to top universities to pursue her passion for zoology research.

Congratulations to Bergen County Academies for setting the pace. Congratulations to the rest of you who will make this race a competition where all of us will win.

Parent-Teacher groups, Science Mentors, Students, Administrators and Faculties, "On your mark, get set, go!" The race for top high school is on.

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