THEN AND STILL NOW: THE NEED FOR SCIENCE LABS AT SATZ SCHOOL
HOLMDEL (September 15, 2017) – In 1967, the year that the William R. Satz School opened its doors for the first time, it was a common practice in Science classes across the country for Science Teachers to conduct an experiment every month or so while students crowded around their desks angling for a “look-see.” Flash forward to 2017 and you would find science classrooms in Holmdel’s middle school that still look as though that is the expectation for teaching and learning there. Fifty years later, William R. Satz is still a school without actual science labs. While teachers have done an excellent job of “making do” with these spaces over the years (as evidenced by the many accolades Holmdel students receive in Science), the recent adoption of new expectations for science learning suggest that these spaces are completely inadequate for that which is envisioned within the Next General Science Standards. That vision is for all students to have access to high-quality learning opportunities and be able to succeed in science. “Transitioning the science learning spaces in the Satz School from classrooms to labs will significantly alter teaching and learning for our middle school science staff and our students,” said Superintendent Dr. Robert McGarry. “The new and renovated spaces included in the Holmdel 2020 Initiative plans will no doubt have a very positive impact on what our students will achieve in middle school and beyond,” he added. The newly adopted standards call for students to be actively engaged in authentic learning experiences. According to the National Research Council, “Students need to have multiple opportunities to ask questions about, investigate, and seek to explain phenomena, as well as to apply their understanding to engineering problems." It is imperative that students have appropriate spaces to engage in those activities. “Redesigned spaces would allow teachers to put more ‘doing’ into their science instruction and allow for increased collaboration, long term activities, and lab investigations,” said district Supervisor of Science Alicia Killean. Improved facilities for Science classes, dedicated space for Engineering and Robotics and Makerspaces in both the middle and high school are major components of the Holmdel 2020 Initiative intended to elevate student learning for years to come. The Holmdel community will have an opportunity to vote on the Holmdel 2020 Initiative plan on September 26th.