Welcome to Science and Math
Before I tell you about our program of studies in science and math, let me tell you a little about my educational background. I attended the University of Southern California and earned my Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Sciences with a Minor in Health and Social Welfare. I graduated with Honors and as a Renaissance Scholar. The Renaissance Scholars program at USC exists to recognize those students who have excelled academically while pursuing at least two widely separated fields of study. I also completed a research semester on Santa Catalina Island at the USC Wrigley Marine Research Institute as an undergraduate. After graduation, I worked as a cell culturist and molecular biologist in a global pharmaceutical company, Johnson & Johnson, before entering the credential program at Cal State San Marcos. I completed that program in 2010, at which time I was hired at St. Mary’s.
I was hired by our principal, Mr. Hicks, specifically because of my strong academic background and understanding in the core areas of math, science, and technology. While there was much that was commendable in the existing program of studies, it was his desire that we establish a more rigorous curriculum, in order to better prepare the students for high school and beyond. I am very proud that we have been able to accomplish this, while keeping the classes fun and engaging. Science studies especially can be highly enjoyable and rewarding. It is my goal to have classes that excite the student’s interest and enthusiasm, while attaining or exceeding the California content standards for science education.
One of the purposes of any science program is to nurture a sense of wonder and curiosity about the natural world. As adults, we often think of the practical applications and advantages of math and science education. However, I have found that the best motivation for learning with children of this age (who do not always share the practical concerns of their parents) is the enjoyment that can be engendered by knowledge. Pleasure is a great motivator of the young and therefore if we can show them the pleasure of discovery and the enjoyment that they may receive in the contemplation of their world, we have set them on the path to becoming life-long learners.
I begin each year’s course of studies in science with a review in scientific skills and the scientific method each year in order to ensure that the students are able to successfully complete that grade level's standards and curriculum. The subjects of each grade are: Earth-Science in the Sixth Grade, Life-Science in the Seventh, and Physical Science in the Eighth. Seventh and Eighth Graders also complete a major scientific inquiry project that allows them to creatively demonstrate their understanding of the scientific method and compete in the Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair. One measure of the current trajectory of the science program at St. Mary’s Middle School is in the improved quality of these projects over the past three years.
In my classes, all class notes and homework are collected in a science notebook throughout the year. This notebook serves as a record of achievement and as a visual summary of learning throughout the year. Assessments are in the form of long-term projects, chapter tests, and oral discussion. Students are able to earn extra credit by participating in the following activities: the UCSD Young Physicist Program, Astronomy Nights in Balboa Park, Science Days at Balboa Park and local science fairs and expositions. These activities broaden their experience within the community and encourage them to discover the many applications of science. We also encourage guest speakers to visit our classroom and school. A wide variety of speakers ranging from career scientists to visiting college students are invited to present on their research and give a more focused lesson on a topic the students are presently covering. For example, last year a Marine Biologist came to our school and explained the tagging and tracking locally of Great White Sharks, while a Neuroscience student form UCSD gave a lecture to the students on brain functions and disorders.
St. Mary Star of the Sea School has open access to our computer lab, which allows the entire class to utilize technology and information in various scientific disciplines. Science class is often conducted in the computer lab to incorporate this technology in the form of student created science lessons, power points presentations, informational brochures, research papers, student quizzes and study sheets or teacher directed web quests and science news discussion of current events.
St. Mary Star of the Sea Middle School offers both classroom and advanced math. I have been the 7th and 8th grade classroom math teacher for the last three years. Mrs. Mary Adamo is our Advanced Math teacher. Students have to qualify to gain entry into the Advanced Math class and have to perform at a high rate in order to remain in the class. Although they work hard, this is a popular class with both the students and the parents. The math program at St. Mary’s is designed to allow students to complete either eighth grade Algebra 1 or High School Algebra by graduation from eighth grade. New text books were purchased three years ago and math teachers attended an extensive professional development training, all of which enabled us to update and accelerate our math program. This year we have focused on incorporating technology by offering access to online textbooks, online tutoring, and study skills. Students are supported in their learning with peer tutoring, online support and an optional week long summer math program. Our goal is to encourage an appreciation and enjoyment for Math, prepare students for high school with a strong foundation of math skills, and meet each student's individual learning needs.
The best way to contact me is through Neo. You can also reach me through the school email listed below. Please allow 24 hours for a response.
St. Mary, Star of the Sea School
515 Wisconsin Avenue
Oceanside, California 92054