This morning at approximately 8:50 the Sandwich Police and Fire Departments conducted a routine canine search of Sandwich High School and the STEM Academy. Students and faculty were cooperative and adhered to the protocol. School support staff was on hand to assist. While many STEM students and freshmen may have been curious there were no reported issues of anxiety and stress related to the search. The protocol calls for no advance notice to school personnel.
The STEM Academy book club is up and running. The first official book discussion will happen on November 6 in Mrs. Sabetta’s room A202. The book “We Were Liars” is the first book we will be discussing. The second meeting will be on November 18 and the book will be announced at the November 6 meeting. All STEM students are welcome to join, even if they missed the first meeting. The club fee of $80 applies. Our goal is to choose books in a variety of genres and be able to share our thoughts and ideas in a round-table discussion. Book club is also a place to share favorite titles and get fantastic recommendations on “good reads.”
Last year two of our science teachers, Mrs. Renee Fudala and Mrs. Arly Davis began a partnership with Ocean Ingenuity working with Mrs. Beth Simmons, a member of the STEM Science Advisory Board. These two 7th grade teachers received a grant to allow their students to participate in a very special program. Using our new teleconferencing equipment the AntarcTECH Penguin Project is being implemented in the Grade 7 science curriculum. Through the use of a live webcam students will be able to observe the Adelie penguins live through a series of scheduled web cam observations. Students will be actively engaged in the scientific process by making observations and documenting the behavior of the Adelie penguins on Torgersen Island, Antarctica. Students will also learn the ways in which scientists are studying the Adelie penguins by exploring AUV’s (autonomous underwater vehicles) such as gliders, and learning how they work. A section of the Sandwich High School/STEM Academy library is being reconfigured to allow a class of up to 30 students to use the teleconferencing equipment.
STEM Parent Group will hold a meeting one week from Thursday. Find more information on the three K - 6 PTA pages, Friends of Sandwich Schools, and others. STEM Parent Group will email to personal contacts and will copy and send home with 6th grade students.
October is Archaeology month and Mrs. Simpson's students are celebrating with a new display outside the STEM office.
Mr. Brian Braginton-Smith from the Village Center Group will be speaking to the 7th grade next week as part of their geography and science project on transboundary pollution. Mr. Smith will speak about new technologies in dealing with wasterwater. He is one of the architects of the Cape Wind Project.
Representatives from the Harwich Junior Theater and the Cotuit Center for the Arts are working with the 7th grade English classes of Mrs. Morris and Mrs. Sabetta. The students are designing a play on the topic of bullying.
Mr. Mike Magyar will be working with art and engineering students after school to design and build a 15 foot squire. The students will be learning about glassblowing, engineering design, art, and materials science.
The Manomet Center for Conservation Science is setting up transects at the STEM Academy this afternoon with the 7th and 8th grade teachers. This is a continuation of a climate change study begun last year.
I am pleased to announce the 2014-15 STEM Academy Student Council officers:
President: Robbie Haggerty
Vice President: Evan Abramson
Secretary: Maggie Mahoney
Treasurer: Alec Abramson
Publicity Chair: Grace McGrady
Congratulations to all the candidates for their excellent campaigns.
Elections are underway and over 35 students are running for one of five offices on the Executive Board: President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Publicity Chair. STEM Academy guidance counselor Ms. Lauren Wentworth is the student council advisor and she describes the structure:
"A student council is a group representative of an entire school - designed to work with the full student body, staff, and administration to improve school climate and develop programs that benefit the entire school. In order to foster school spirit and build the STEM community, we'll have one unified STEM Student Council. Doing so will help 7th and 8th graders work together as one community, rather than two entirely separate grades."
The Leadership Committee is open to all students interested in participating in student government. The election is October 21 and students will view campaign speeches on their Chrome Books and vote online in true STEM fashion.
Book Club advisor Mrs. Karen Sabetta has announced that the first meeting is after school on October 23 in A202. Students are asked to bring suggestions for books.
The STEM Arts and Humanities Advisory Board met last week and elected Mrs. Debbie Morris and Mrs. Diana Ganju as the co-chairs. Many projects were discussed including the building of a 15 foot Squire with the assistance of glass blower Mr. Michael Magyar. Students interested in helping with this project should see their art teacher, either Mrs. Kathleen Mills or Mrs. Diana Ganju.
On Thursday, October 9th, STEM Academy science teachers attended a Climate Lab training workshop at Manomet's Center for Conservation Sciences. Teachers, working along with scientists, established a series of transects and took field data on local plant species. They also reviewed all Climate Lab lessons created by TERC (Technical Education Research Center) based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The teachers also discussed sharing plant measurement data sets of plants with schools in Duxbury and Weymouth. This program was begun last year and is continuing as part of the curriculum in the STEM Academy. Our students will also be setting up similar transects here to collect data that will then be shared with students in the other school systems. The program is interdisciplinary and contains components of science, technology, mathematics, and geography. Mrs. Beth Brazil, a member of the STEM science advisory board, organized this program for our teachers and students.
Members of the STEM science advisory board have been very active recently in planning and developing special programs for our students. Board members Eben Franks and Steve Kramer have put together a grant proposal with sweeping implications that will benefit our students, focus on authentic environmental issues, and support a global humanitarian perspective. They have spent many hours writing the proposal and contacting specialists around the world. Mr. Franks has contacted Claire Nelson, White House Ideation Leader and Founder and President of the Institute of Caribbean Studies. She has expressed an interest in working with the STEM Academy. Our long-term goal is that some of our students will have the opportunity to study environmental issues in Jamaica. Problems of environmental pollution, loss of fisheries habitats, and the impact of agricultural runoff are topics that students may study. In addition Mr. Franks has also spoken with Mr.Bill Curry, the Director of the Bermuda Institute for Ocean Studies for the possibility of developing a partnership.
Mr. Buzz Scott from OceansWide in Maine conducted a workshop for our ROV students last year and has indicated he would be willing to teach a class on SCUBA certification as well as cold water survival. We would need 16-24 students, but I suspect that will not be difficult to achieve.
We are also continuing our partnership with Dr. Robert Ballard's Ocean Exploration group that includes Dr. Katy Croff Bell, who gave our opening presentation, and Mr. Brennan Phillips, a member of the advisory board. They are planning on assisting us with our ROV program which can be applied to archaeology, environmental studies, and ROV technical training.
Over the next few weeks we will be meeting with representatives from the Swamscott school district. This includes former Oak Ridge principal Tom Daniels and Swamscott High School STEM coordinator Brandy Wilbur. We hope to develop a partnership with their school for the grant proposal mentioned earlier. We are also meeting at the Cape Cod Community College with Jill Neumayer-DePiper, the Director of the Cape Cod Regional STEM Network and Dr. Robert Cody, a dean at the college. We are hoping to create some additional opportunities for our students that would take place at 4C's.
Needless to say many of these projects and ideas will take some time to develop, but we have many professionals on our advisory board and elsewhere who are dedicated to helping our students succeed. There are other projects in the works which I will review later.