The science department of Harrison High School wants the students who graduate from Harrison to be effective and productive citizens in the local, national and global communities. Our department is comprised of teachers who have advanced degrees and multiple educational certifications (Gifted, AP, and Teacher Support Specialists). Several of our teachers have been recognized by their peers as Teachers of the Year. We have high expectations for ourselves as well as our students. We rely on our education, our personal experiences and the professional challenge and support we offer each other to make the learning experiences for our students the best they can possibly be.
Science education is designed to prepare students to succeed regardless of their post-secondary goals. Just as we expect scientists in research and industry to exhibit qualities such as honesty, integrity and curiosity, we at Harrison expect the same from our students. We incorporate various opportunities for students to explore, investigate and ask questions. We want students to be proud of the work they do and we hold them accountable for their own learning.
We also know that what scientists do in research and industry requires certain skills. Several of the members of our department have worked in science-related industries such as Kimberly-Clark or Colgate-Palmolive or in the health profession. We also have teachers who have participated in various summer research projects such as coastal sea turtle programs and working in the rainforests of Belize. We use our experiences as scientists to help students understand what scientists do and why it’s important to master such skills. So we design lessons that effectively instruct students in generating hypotheses, collecting data and managing data. Students participate in activities in which they must interpret data and draw conclusions. By the time they have graduated from Harrison, students have had numerous opportunities to develop the same skills that scientists use. Even though some students may say they aren’t going to be a scientist, in actuality, we are all scientists. We all use those skills in everyday problem-solving.
We expect our students to know their stuff. Content is important and our students at Harrison continue to excel on standardized science tests. Whether it’s an AP or EOCT test, our students continue to score near the top in Cobb County. Our teachers rely on education, collaboration, personal experience and research to deeply understand the subjects we teach. We also use our industry and personal experiences to make the subject matter relevant to our students. We want our students to know the content, but we also place great emphasis on application and synthesis of such knowledge. Our future demands a citizenry that is informed and can think critically. Our department will help students become those citizens.
Although having students excel in science in science is important, we care about the kind of person our students become. We want our students to explore science-related activities beyond the classroom and other activities outside of class. We model this behavior as well. We sponsor two science-related extra-curricular activities: Science Olympiad/Science Team and H.O.P.E. Club (Helping Our Planet Earth). Every teacher in our department is involved in school activities outside of the classroom whether serving as a club sponsor, team coach or extended learning instructor. We know that connecting with students is just as important as the content we teach.