Skip to content
Advertisements

DUSD Measure L Benefits Elementary Science Exploration and Engagement

March 20, 2013

Murray Elementary School Pi Day Science Event - 4

Almost five years ago, Measure L, the parcel tax proposed in Dublin passed with an overwhelming 72% acceptance rate. A two-thirds majority of ballots cast were required to pass this into law. The Measure was designed to support high academic achievement in math, science, reading, writing, and technology; to attract and retain highly qualified teachers; maintain small class sizes; and to provide ongoing teacher training. Additionally an independent citizens’ oversight committee was committed to ensure that no monies for administrator salaries were earmarked here and that all dollars were to stay in our community to maintain a high quality education. What has occurred since that vote?

OneDublin.org explored and was pleased to report that tangible benefits are occurring. Specifically, the 2012/13 academic year has yielded a new Science coaching program that is currently benefitting all elementary schools across the District. The program is completing its first year and should provide positive benefits for all our primary students next year as they begin to matriculate into their respective middle schools. As an ancillary outcome, we uncovered a science program unique to Murray Elementary School that should inspire future scientists of all ages.

Murray Elementary School Pi Day Science Event - 5

As a direct outcome of Measure L and their corresponding funds, the Dublin Unified School District contemplated many options. With the confluence of increasing academic achievement in all subjects and with the horizon of the movement towards Common Core Standards in 2014, a decision was made to capitalize upon this opportunity at the primary education level. Specifically, a District-led committee focused in on how science engagement could be enhanced across all grade levels. Traditionally, under the CST model, all California students have been measured under testing provided in the fifth, eight and tenth grades. While this has not changed, the measurement has. The evaluation of Science under Common Core Science has moved under the umbrella of English/Language/Arts. What does this mean? While scientific evaluation has not altered, it is the student’s ability to articulate a theorem that has moved to the forefront. In other words, it is not enough to identify a complete circuit, but to explain it, in plain English. Again, this is all being driven by the new state standards which will be implemented shortly in California.

OneDublin.org had the opportunity to visit Murray Elementary School to explore the innovations under a new program. Veteran 5th Grade Teacher Shellie Wilmott has been tasked with leading the initiative of developing a core competency science curriculum for all elementary schools. She has worked in concert with Science Coach, Judie Greenhouse.

OneDublin.org: Your current role is to not only to educate students, but to also “absorb” a portion of the teacher’s science load. Please help us understand your role.

DUSD Murray Elementary School Shellie Wilmott and Judie Greenhouse

Shellie Wilmott and Judie Greenhouse

Shellie Wilmott: “By virtue of this role, Judie and I are able to implement an active laboratory experience in fifth grade classrooms across the district. Additionally, we are constructing a core guide that can supplement their weekly curriculum. We supply the materials and the content. It’s been a great experience to move these students towards the expectations in ultimately fulfilling the Common Core Standards.”

OneDublin.org: Even if a student does not ultimately choose to pursue a future in the sciences, why should this subject be important to them?

Wilmott: “Regardless, it encourages students to think outside of the box. The skills attained are multi-dimensional: They are hands-on and force one to figure things out. It requires experimentation and for one to express oneself. It would apply to any type of career.”

OneDublin.org: What was the student’s response to the Pi Day held last week, on 3/14?

Wilmott: “The students definitely came in with more energy and excitement. Every class that experienced a 45-minute session left a new excitement about science. We employed some of our 5th grade students to serve as peer advisors to the younger students. They took it seriously and gained great benefits from this process.”

OneDublin.org: Lastly, how would you assess the success of this program?

Wilmott: “I think that most of the teachers are excited. We recognize that this has the potential to move beyond the subject of Science and can move into the ELA/Math model. But, I also feel that we’ve gained respect from our teaching peers and respective administrations. We’re not done, but we’ve accomplished a lot in a short time.”

Yes, the Murray students finished off their week with a slice of pie. Fifth grade teacher Denise Fisher should be commended for planning and executing much of Pi week. There were nine science stations awaiting all of their students during their respective sessions. OneDublin.org recognizes any and all that were responsible for making this event a scientific success!

Pi: (n) a transcendental number, fundamental to mathematics that is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. Approximate value: 3.141592…

Murray Elementary School Pi Day Science Event

Murray Elementary School Pi Day Science Event

Murray Elementary School Pi Day Science Event

Murray Elementary School Pi Day Science Event

Murray Elementary School Pi Day Science Event

Murray Elementary School Pi Day Science Event

Murray Elementary School Pi Day Science Event

Murray Elementary School Pi Day Science Event

Murray Elementary School Pi Day Science Event

Murray Elementary School Pi Day Science Event

Advertisements

Comments are closed.