Our science department recently celebrated some huge successes as our students excelled with their science fair projects. IRCS sent four students to the Pinellas Regional Science Fair. Kaitlyn Yu and Joshua Guzman placed second in their divisions. Tiffany Byun was awarded first in the Chemistry division. Hannah Anderson placed first in the Physics class and was named Senior Division “Best of Fair” winner. By virtue of the quality of their projects, Hannah and Tiffany qualified to go to the Florida State Science and Engineering Fair in Lakeland. Hannah’s “Best of Fair” award also qualified her to attend the I-SWEEEP International Competition held in Houston, Texas.
At the state competition, Tiffany received the Honorable Mention award. She was also recognized at the American Chemical Society Tampa Section Awards Dinner held recently at USF.
Hannah received the Award of Recognition at the State Fair. She also won the Bay Area Manufacturer’s Association (BAMA) Award, The Mayor’s Showcase Runner Up Science and Technology Award and was accepted to attend a 10 day Duke University Math Summer Workshop. At I-SWEEEP, Hannah was awarded the Bronze Medal (third place) in the Energy Category of this prestigious international competition.
An area that IRCS is putting an increased emphasis on is in the sciences. This past year the elementary began a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) program as an afterschool enrichment opportunity. Two of their big projects involved building and launching rockets as well as how to land precious cargo safely. They were able to gain an incredible amount of knowledge and had fun doing it.
In the MS/HS we will be changing Science Department Head Tracy Springman’s schedule so that she will be able to devote half of her day to being a STEM coordinator for our school. We have had extensive help and counsel from Dr. Mark Oleksak, a current parent who is the Director of Scientific Research at Faraday Labs and STEM Research Consultant. We appreciate his wisdom and guidance immensely. The class schedule change will allow Tracy to help other teachers with the implementation of STEM related projects and curriculum into their current classes. This past fall Mrs. Springman was selected as one of 26 teachers nationally to attend a computer based research science training in Grand Rapids, Michigan where all the expenses were paid by the host. She has just received notification that she has been selected as one of six teachers nationally to be brought back for an increased level of training. To be eligible for this, teachers had to submit a portfolio of how they had implemented the previous training into their current classroom settings.
To help free up Tracy’s schedule we have hired an additional science teacher. Wesley Thompson will be teaching all of our Biology classes as well as adding another Advanced Placement (AP) offering to our schedule by teaching AP Environmental Science. This brings our AP offerings to 3 in the Sciences and 7 overall. The art room is currently being transformed into a 3rd science lab. The wrestling room (in the back hallway by the band room) will be the new Art room. We think students will enjoy these newly refurbished rooms.
A final item of interest is that we will be sending 13 teachers to a special STEM conference in Orlando later this month. Our goal is to stay current and excel in the area of Science.