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    Students Join High School Science Adoption Committee
    Posted on 12/04/2018
    Three students smile for a photo at a desk

    Students Join High School Science Adoption Committee

    In support of the ongoing work around amplifying youth participation district wide, two students from Franklin High School and a student from The Center School joined the High School Science Adoption Committee to share their perspectives on science and how science education has impacted their learning.

    Nahom and Sofia are both juniors at Franklin High School and Aiden is a sophomore at The Center School. All three students like science and want to pursue a career in the science field upon graduation. As part of the committee, they will meet throughout the year with adults (teachers, district staff, families, and community members) to decide on potential instructional materials to introduce to the larger community for further review.

    As part of their responsibilities, the students have been spending eight hours a day every few weeks diving deep into science instructional materials and viewing it from the eyes of their peers. The three students all agree that youth opinions matter, as it relates to the decision on instructional materials.

    “At the end of the day, we’re the ones that will have to learn the new materials, so I think our voices should be included,” said Nahom. He considers science his favorite class and was asked by his science teacher, Dr. Katzaroff, on whether he’d be interested in joining the committee, “I like being able to prove things. We don’t accept something that has happened as final. You can figure the problem out in science, as we connect science with a real-world phenomenon and make sense of it. There’s more room to investigate.”

    Aiden enjoys the process of reviewing potential materials and understands that the work is extensive and challenging. “We are looking at how the new science instructional materials will impact not only students and teachers but also parents. We’re trying to find (instructional materials) that are close to perfect and asking how we’ll (students and teachers) use it.”

    Sofia enjoys science immensely and wants adults to understand that the project-based learning approach, scientific inquiry, and real-world connections are what she’s grown to appreciate in her science courses. “I took 10th grade biology [with Dr. Katzaroff] and liked how student voice involvement is there. Also, I appreciate how with science, there is a connection to outside the classroom,” remarked Sofia.

    Since the state adopted new science standards (Next Generation Science Standards) in 2013, Seattle Public Schools has been aligning courses to NGSS. The new standards place a blended emphasis on science and engineering practices to prepare students for college-level courses and gain critical thinking skills, regardless of their career pathways. The shift to new standards has opened opportunities for students to analyze a major global challenge using a scientific lens and engineer solutions to a complex real-world problem.

    Aiden, Nahom, and Sofia join a committee that will meet throughout the year. Their insights and perspective, along with those of the committee will be gathered as all members will collaborate, discuss, and ultimately decide on high school instructional materials for the community to review in Spring 2019.

    Read more on the district’s 9-12 Science Adoption work.