On a spring morning at Ossining High School in suburban New York, a group of students gathered in a small classroom at the end of the school’s science hallway. It was a day traditionally known to the senior class as “skip day,” when most of the school’s 12th-graders play hooky and head to the beach to celebrate their impending graduation.
But in the classroom shared by teachers Valerie Holmes and Angelo Piccirillo, a half dozen students had opted out of “skip day,” to spend the day in the science research room, putting finishing touches on projects and chatting with their teachers and classmates.
After struggling to attract students when it first launched in 1998, Ossining’s science research program was thriving by 2001. Last year, the Intel Corporation chose the program out of 18 national finalists to receive the top prize in a contest celebrating excellence in science instruction.
It is a notable award, but only one of many recent accomplishments at a school with a troubled history. At the same time it was building a nationally-recognized science program from scratch, Ossining High—once the site of race riots—has pioneered new strategies for reducing racial tensions, closing achievement gaps and increasing graduation rates. So far, all seem to be working.
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Via Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc