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.