SUPA will officially celebrate its 40th Anniversary on Friday, May 17 with a series of seminars, followed by a luncheon. Yong Zhao, Ph.D., Presidential Chair and Associate Dean for Global Education in the College of Education at the University of Oregon will speak to over 250 high school instructors, Syracuse University faculty and SUPA staff at the Sheraton Syracuse University Hotel and Conference Center.
SUPA began 40 years ago as an attempted cure for “senioritis”- the malady that affects high school seniors after they have completed their college admissions process and wind down their high school careers. SUPA worked with local Syracuse-area high school administrators and teachers to develop a program where academically rigorous SU courses could be offered to seniors to keep them intellectually engaged while giving them a taste of a real university curriculum.
This model, commonly called “concurrent enrollment”, has gained popularity in recent years as high schools around the country and the world seek to better prepare their students for the academic rigor of college. SUPA has grown into one of the largest concurrent enrollment programs (CEP) in the country, offering 39 Syracuse University courses in 200 high schools, including schools in Dubai and Vietnam. Over 10,000 students registered for SU courses for the Fall 2012 semester, resulting in almost 15,000 course enrollments- and all at a fraction of what the course would cost on campus. SUPA offers SU courses for $110 a credit hour, and all SUPA courses are free to Syracuse City School District students.
But SUPA is not just concerned with growth. Beyond the standard CEP model, SUPA offers an “enhanced” CEP program, providing advanced technological and educational support to their partners to improve outcomes and strengthen the high school-university relationship. “SUPA’s growth over these past 40 years hasn’t just been a matter of posting ever-rising enrollment numbers,” says Dr. Gerald Edmonds, SUPA Director. “We have striven to add key enhancements that contribute to the intellectual growth of students, the professional development of teachers, and the strengthening of learning communities within schools. Our model includes developing learning strategies workshops, making available the latest online instructional tools, and providing assistance to schools with administrative and evaluation functions whenever we can.”
Dr. Edmonds has been director of SUPA since 2002 and a champion of the CEP movement. He was instrumental in starting the National Association of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP), serving as Founding President. He has served other roles for NACEP and frequently consults with other CEP programs across the country. “Dr. Edmonds has been a driving force in the advancement of concurrent enrollment and a valuable resource for our members,” states Adam Lowe, Executive Director for NACEP. “SUPA is a great example on how concurrent enrollment programs should work and how they can have a positive effect on education.”
Yong Zhao, Ph.D.
Dr. James Spencer
Congratulations to SU Meredith Professor of Chemistry and SUPA Faculty member James T. Spencer for being awarded a Chancellor’s Citation for Excellence. The Chancellor’s Citation awards were first presented at SU in 1979 in recognition of outstanding achievement in teaching, scholarship and creative work. You can read about Dr. Spencer and the rest of the honorees here
On Wednesday, February 6 representatives of Syracuse University Project Advance (SUPA) and International School Ho Chi Minh City (ISHCMC) met with Ambassador Nguyen Quoc Cuong, Vietnamese Ambassador to the United States. Ambassador Cuong graciously hosted the group at the Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in Washington, D.C. Discussion centered around the Ambassador’s desire to increase the number of Vietnamese students in colleges and universities in the US, and how the relationship between SUPA and ISHCMC helps achieve that goal. Ambassador Cuong was enthusiastic about the partnership and looks forward to continued cooperation between Vietnamese educators and SU.
Syracuse University currently offers four classes at ISHCMC, with plans to add two more for the next school year.
(L to R) Bill Newell, Associate Director, SUPA; Valerie Twomley, Marketing Manager, Cognita Schools; Ambassador Cuong; Jeff Wornstaff, Superintendent, International School Ho Chi Minh City; Gerald Edmonds, Director, SUPA
Syracuse University Project Advance faculty advisor Prof. Ron Sutterer (far left) listens attentively to a psychology experiment presentation given by (L to R) Bethany Owens, Victoria O’Selmo, Jenna Zajac, Lauren Bielby, and Jessica Lohr, all students taking SU PSY 205 Foundations of Human Behavior at SUPA partner Liverpool (NY) High School. This presentation was one of 24 given in “salon” style to other students, Liverpool HS faculty, and SUPA faculty advisors. In addition to Sutterer, SUPA advisors present at the Jan. 18, 2013 event were professors Larry Lewandowski and Brian Martens of SU and Dr. Mike Gordon of SUNY-Upstate Medical University. “This was an excellent and enjoyable event” says SUPA Associate Director John Fiset. “The level of scholarship for high school students was very high, proving what an outstanding job SUPA instructor James Chrisfield is doing teaching this challenging SU class and showing the extent to which his students are rising, eagerly, to the challenge.”
Congratulations to SUPA student Michael Zhang of Smithtown East High School of St. James, NY. Zhang has been named a finalist in the prestigious Intel Science Talent Search. He was selected for his project “Role-Inducted Perspective Visual Behavior During Scene Free-Viewing.” Zhang will join 39 other finalists in Washington, DC in March for a final round of judging and to meet other scientists. Pictured above (L to R) Maria Zeitlin, coordinator of the Smithtown East research program and an SU adjunct instructor who teaches SU chemistry at her high school through SUPA, and Michael Zhang.
In an unexpected victory, SUPA partner Middletown (NY) City School District is the only district in New York State to be named a Race to the Top (RTTT) winner by the US Department of Education. Middletown, which won $20 million in federal grants, was one of only 16 winning districts in the country.
Middletown CSD is a “high needs, high poverty” district. Enrollment is 7,200 students, 73% of whom qualify for reduced-price or free lunch. Almost 80% are members of minority groups, and 20% are English language learners.
The federal success came after failure at the state level. Middletown had applied to the NYS Education Department for an RTTT-funded grant. It touted achievements such as a graduation rate that climbed from 52% to 83% in the last eight years.
The district thought it had an edge because it worked hard to meet the state’s July 1, 2012 deadline to create new performance evaluation standards for Annual Professional Performance Reviews (APPR), and it was one of the first districts to win state approval.
Some of the programs and initiatives that received praise from the US Department of Education reviewers included the extended learning day, summer institutes to help at-risk students, the addition of arts and pre-engineering programs for secondary school, a dual-language program, a college/career center, and expansion of co-curricular activities.
The district has ambitious plans for the federal money. Next September, qualified juniors and seniors will be able to take up to 26 college credits through SUPA. Those students who receive free or discounted lunch will be able to take these courses at no charge, thanks to the RTTT award.
For the full story, click here.
Two SUPA students from the Science Research Program at SUPA partner Smithtown High School East in St. James, NY—Nicholas Spiezio and Michael Zhang—have been selected as Intel Science Talent Search (Intel STS) semi-finalists.
According to the Society for Science and the Public, “[Intel STS] is America’s most prestigious national science research competition for high school seniors.” From more than 1,700 applicants, 300 were selected as semi-finalists. This group will be further narrowed to 40 finalists on Jan. 23, 2013.
Spiezio’s project is “Cellular Delivery of Gene-Silencing Products.” A goal of his research is to utilize delivery cells for transfer of gene-silencing products to target cells and to increase the efficiency of future cell-reliant therapies.
“Nick has a wonderful maturity in the lab, and he has found his niche in biomedical science. He is superior in his level of laboratory skill and has an advanced mastery of the content,” says Maria Zeitlin, coordinator of the Smithtown East research program and an SU adjunct instructor who teaches SU chemistry at her high school through SUPA.
Zhang’s project—“Role-Induced Perspective Visual Behavior During Scene Free-Viewing”—investigates whether eye movements can be tracked and differentiated depending on the role a person has in life. Ultimately, his research could be applied to eye-tracking security software.
“Michael’s work required extensive computer analysis of highly specific eye movements,” says Zeitlin, “and it utilized software and hardware at SUNY-Stony Brook’s psychology department. He has a natural ease with sophisticated computation and a true talent with data synthesis.”
(L to R) Smithtown East HS Principal Ed Thompson, Nicholas Spiezio, Michael Zhang, and SUPA teacher Maria Zeitlin.
On Dec. 14, SUPA faculty advisor Dr. Michael Sponsler, professor in SU’s Department of Chemistry and Director of Curricular Programs for SU’s Forensic and National Security Sciences Institute, visited SU forensic science classes offered at SUPA partner Hasbrouck Heights (NJ) High School. Sponsler expounded on famous criminal cases, demonstrating the importance of forensic evidence in the solving of these crimes. He also stressed the college and career readiness benefits of SUPA. Pictured (L to R) are Jorge Perla, Dr. Brady Trexler, Dr. Michael Sponsler, and Michael Christensen.
Syracuse University Project Advance (SUPA) instructor Annette Sebuyira—a science teacher at SUPA partner Guilderland (NY) Central High School—has earned a prestigious National Board Professional Teaching Certificate from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), an independent organization that advances teaching by promoting standards of excellence.
Through SUPA’s enhanced concurrent enrollment program, Sebuyira is a qualified SU adjunct chemistry instructor who teaches SU General Chemistry I and II and Forensic Science to high school seniors at Guilderland Central HS during the school day. Her SUPA students have the opportunity to earn university credit that can be transferred to post-secondary institutions of their choice.
In fact, Sebuyira says her association with SUPA got her started on the three-year pursuit toward certification. “Two teachers from South Glens Falls (NY) High School approached me at a SUPA Forensic Science workshop and told me I’m a good candidate for NBPTS certification. They got the ball rolling for me, along with two colleagues from my school who had been certified,” recalls Sebuyira.
As any teacher who has gone through certification knows, it’s a rigorous process befitting the award’s prestige. “Certification involves four entries and, for me, as a science teacher, a four-part assessment in chemistry, biology, physics, and Earth science,” explains Sebuyira.
For her entries, Sebuyira was asked to videotape classes and student discussions (“To show how I teach, assess, and manage the coursework and students,” says Sebuyira); to submit a portfolio of accomplishments as a member of the school’s learning community (“This was easy for me because I teach SUPA courses”); and document the intellectual growth of two of her students.
Sebuyira’s excellence in chemistry and Forensic Science, nurtured by her SUPA professional development opportunities, was well represented in her submission.
“I showed the certification council how I teach chemical phenomena through explaining the development, arrangement, and interpretation of the periodic table,” says Sebuyira. Another of her entries was a video showing how she teaches real-life crime scene protocol to her SU Forensic Science students. The students begin the protocol by responding to a 911 call, then they secure and search a mock crime scene, conduct interviews, and collect forensic evidence for analysis. “It was fantastic!” says Sebuyira. “The students were impressive, professional, and very knowledgeable. I was so proud of them!”
Despite the lengthy and involved submission, Sebuyira says she is glad she put in the effort. “Certification forces you to reflect on your teaching, which encourages growth. But at Guilderland, we are all master teachers, so we are simply required to document our current practices, such as collaboration and coaching. We all go above and beyond for our students.”
Sebuyria joins more than 100,000 National Board-certified teachers recognized for their hard work and dedication by fellow professionals who develop NBPTS standards and serve in NBPTS staff roles, on its governing board, and on its certification council.
The NBPTS was created in 1987 after the publication of A Nation Prepared: Teachers for the 21st Century by the Carnegie Forum on Education and the Economy. Its mission is to establish definitive teacher certification standards, grounded in five “core propositions” that teachers must demonstrate: a strong commitment to students and learning, evidence of subject expertise, monitoring of learning, systematic thinking about teaching practice, and active membership in learning communities.
For many high school students, the challenge of transitioning from high school to college can seem daunting, even insurmountable.
Concerns are natural, and in Student-to-Student: College Beyond the Classroom, students from Syracuse University Project Advance partner World Academy for Total Community Health (WATCH) High School in Brooklyn, NY explore their fears, expectations, and hopes about post-secondary academic and social life in a series of personal letters.
In Student-to-Student, the WATCH students ask about work/life balance, relationships, safety, and coming of age so far from home. Syracuse University/US Department of Education McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program Scholars, experienced university students who “know the ropes,” answer the high schoolers, providing insightful, prescient, and practical advice that is sometimes deeply touching.
The book is edited by Dr. Marlene F. Blumin, professor and director of the Study Skills Program in SU’s School of Education and a SUPA faculty liaison. The author of It’s All About Choices (Kendall-Hunt, 2012), Blumin is the designer of a one-semester CLS 105 College Learning Strategies course that is context-specific to SU and that has been adapted for use with SUPA partner schools.
The book grew out of one of Blumin’s regular high school visits on behalf of SUPA. While at WATCH HS, she met CLS 105 students curious about what it means to go to college. “The discussion that we began there—one that revealed the students’ lack of confidence in their ability to be accepted at a college and to be a success there—eventually led to this book,” says Blumin.
To read the book online, click the image below. Or you can download the PDF here.
Michele Persaud, a biology and chemistry teacher at Murry Bergtraum High School for Business Careers in New York City, a Syracuse University Project Advance (SUPA) partner, is one of seven teachers to be awarded a 2012 Fund for the City of New York Sloan Award for Excellence in Teaching Science and Mathematics.
Persaud was honored in a Dec. 5, 2012 ceremony in The Great Hall at The Cooper Union in Manhattan, where she received $5,000 for herself and $2,500 for her department.
“I hope the department money will buy much-needed science lab equipment, such as Vernier probes, anatomy models, and lab carts,” says Persaud. “We also need classroom kits and discovery packs for our Project Advance courses, so my students can explore color, standing waves, and electromagnetism in SU physics and firearm identification and forensic entomology in SU forensic science.”
Persaud teaches in the newly created Murry Bergtraum HS SUPA Academy, which offers qualified seniors 15 SU introductory courses, ranging from ACC 151 Introduction to Financial Accounting to WRT 105 Practices of Academic Writing. Persaud—an instructor for SU CHE 113 Forensic Science—is part of a team of 12 “SUPA Academy Teachers” trained as SU adjunct instructors through SUPA.
“I hope my award will help end Murry Bergtraum’s negative reputation in the press and community and highlight how hard our teachers are working to create college- and career-ready young professionals,” explains Persaud, “The award inspires me to continue my multi-disciplinary approach to science, using inquiry, narrative, art, music, and games in STEM classes to interest our diverse student population while maintaining the integrity of the content and setting very high expectations. This award highlights how we communicate the beauty and value of science; our exemplary and innovative teaching practices have long been overlooked.”
“This prestigious award confirms what we at Project Advance already know about Michele: she is an effective and dedicated teacher with a passion for preparing young men and women to become engaged students and citizens,” says SUPA Associate Director John Fiset. “It’s so easy to take great teachers for granted. What they do effortlessly in class is the result of years of training and endless hours of practice and application. Thank you Fund for the City of New York and Alfred P. Sloan Foundation for recognizing Michele’s talents and her devotion to her craft.”
The Fund for the City of New York and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation recognized the first winners of the Sloan Award for Excellence in Teaching Science and Mathematics in 2009. Nominations come from principals, colleagues, students, parents, and others familiar with the teacher’s work.
An independent panel of distinguished scientists, mathematicians, and educators chooses the winners. Among the criteria the panel uses in its evaluation are student achievement, progress, and outcomes; innovation and creativity in the classroom environment; success in motivating students with diverse or special backgrounds; promotion of mathematics and science inside and outside school; and encouragement of the pursuit of careers in science and mathematics.
- For more information on the 2012 Sloan Teaching Awards, click here.
Gwendolyn Raeford, a teacher at Syracuse University Project Advance (SUPA) Partner Nottingham High School in Syracuse, NY, has been honored for her dedication to teaching Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) subjects by the Technology Alliance of Central New York (TACNY).
At Nottingham HS, Raeford, a qualified SU adjunct professor, teaches SU forensic science classes.
The Syracuse Post-Standard recently caught up with Raeford to talk about her passion for teaching and some of her STEM school projects, including NASCAR Ten80. Read the full interview here.
(In the article, the Post-Standard identifies her home school as SUPA Partner Fowler High School in Syracuse, NY; Raeford did indeed teach at Fowler for many years.)
Dear Project Advance Students, Parents, Instructors, and Administrators:
Over the past several days the Project Advance staff and faculty have had our downstate school partners in New York and New Jersey in our hearts and minds as you recover from the devastating effects of Superstorm Sandy. We know that many of your high schools were hard-hit and that many of our partners are dealing with personal loss and devastation.We understand that some high schools are returning to normal operations, while some of our especially hard-hit schools are doing everything they can to resume operations.
I want to update you with some specific measures Project Advance is implementing to respond to your needs:
- Increased financial assistance availability for students and their families that suffered property loss and loss of income. The financial assistance form is located on our website. Please include your insurance claim or FEMA documentation.
- The drop deadline has been extended from Nov. 16 to Nov. 30 for schools located in the FEMA disaster zone (see map) and throughout New Jersey. This will help in situations where students can no longer participate in the class and to accommodate the shift in high schools’ schedules.
- At this time, Project Advance has no plans to cancel any courses at partner schools affected by Superstorm Sandy.
- No student in the affected zones will lose the opportunity to be registered for SU credit if your account is past due. We will work with you and your parents/guardians on an individual basis. Please contact the Project Advance via phone 315.443.2404 or live chat between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.
In addition, Syracuse University Chancellor Nancy Cantor recently announced the different ways that SU is responding. SU has undertaken the following actions:
- The University is sending a truck with bottled water, ready-to-eat food, and sweatshirts to the region to immediately offer residents some much-needed supplies.
- This Saturday during SU’s noon football game vs. Louisville is the annual “Dome Donation Day.” This previously scheduled event at the Dome marks the official start of the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign. The Salvation Army, SU, and the CXtec and TERACAI companies will join forces to collect food and monetary donations from fans as they enter the Carrier Dome. The proceeds collected will benefit victims of Superstorm Sandy and also support the Salvation Army’s annual holiday assistance campaign.
- In addition, the University is planning for a similar donation collection effort to benefit Superstorm Sandy relief efforts at an upcoming men’s basketball game at the Dome.
- Faculty and staff are encouraged to donate via the American Red Cross. In addition, Hendricks Chapel will serve as a drop-off point for those who wish to contribute.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact the Project Advance office at 315.443.2404.
On behalf of the Project Advance Staff and Faculty,
Gerald Edmonds, Ph.D.
Download the PDF of this announcement.
Three representatives from Syracuse University Project Advance (SUPA)—Dr. Gerald Edmonds, director; Avinash Kadaji, software engineer; and Kalpana Srinivas, SU assistant chancellor—have traveled to Seattle, WA to present their recent research and projects at the 2012 National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP) National Conference, from Oct. 28 to 30, 2012.
This year’s conference is framed by the need to increase the number of college graduates and produce a more highly skilled workforce. Therefore, it is showcasing the critical role that concurrent enrollment programs (CEPs) play preparing students for post-secondary education and in-demand careers, including re-designing the senior year of high school as the “launch year” for college and enabling students to complete degree programs on time by earning credits in high school.
CEPs address both these needs, guiding students toward successful futures by offering college credit-bearing courses taught to qualified seniors during the school day by college-trained and approved teachers. NACEP—which SUPA helped establish in 1999—is the only national standards-based accreditation body for CEPs. NACEP has accredited SUPA twice, in 2004 and 2011.
At NACEP 2012, SUPA representatives will take part in the following presentations:
- Jerry Edmonds: “CEP 2.0: Enhancing Your Program Beyond Simply Offering College Courses” and “Effective Evaluation Survey Methodology” (with Diana Johnson, Northwest Arkansas Community College and Becky Carter, Indiana University).
- Avi Kadaji: “Conducting Students’ Subsequent NACEP Evaluation Surveys Using the Integrated Evaluation System (IES)” (with Jerry Edmonds).
- Kal Srinivas: “CEP Students’ Subsequent College Performance at University of Findlay and Syracuse University” (with Judith Wharman, University of Findlay).
The featured speakers at NACEP 2012 are Stan Jones, president, Complete College America, and James Rowley, executive director, Institute for Technology Enhanced Learning, University of Dayton, OH. Complete College America is a research group that has shown the extent to which students whose college careers are lengthened by remedial courses, transfer complications, and insufficient guidance are at greater risk of not completing their coursework. Rowley is an experienced educator and researcher who will share his initiative to create a Quality Framework for STEM Education to enhance the professional practices of classroom teachers.
(From syracuse.com) Paul Napoli and Curtis Pastore returned to Cicero-North Syracuse (NY) High School recently to share their story of becoming local entrepreneurs.
Napoli and Pastore, who graduated from the North Syracuse Central School District, own Five Star Martial Arts in North Syracuse, NY. The men recently lead a question and answer session with Linda Dwyer’s Syracuse University entrepreneurship class, offered through SU Project Advance.
Students framed their questions around the entrepreneurial process, which they are studying in this class, Dwyer said.
Napoli and Pastore are both third-degree black belts, and they said their life-long goal was to own a martial arts studio. They shared how they developed their business plan with the students and stressed the importance of having passion when running a successful business.
Entrepreneurs Paul Napoli and Curtis Pastore returned to Cicero-North Syracuse (NY) High School recently to share their business story, speaking to SUPA students taking an SU entrepreneurship class.
Congratulations to the five Project Advance alumni who have been awarded 2012 Syracuse University Remembrance Scholarships. They are among 35 outstanding SU students from this year’s senior class to be honored as Remembrance Scholars.
The scholarships, among the most prestigious awarded by SU, were founded as a tribute to the 270 people, including 35 students studying abroad through SU, who were killed in the Dec. 21, 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. This year marks the 24th anniversary of the tragedy. Remembrance Scholars will be honored at a Convocation for Remembrance Scholars on Oct. 26, 2012 in Hendricks Chapel on the SU campus.
Applicants for the $5,000 scholarship were asked to highlight their academic achievements and SU activities, including community service. They also wrote essays and participated in interviews with members of the selection committee. The scholarships are funded through an endowment supported by gifts from alumni, friends, parents, and corporations.
2012 Remembrance Scholars who are Project Advance alumni are:
- Ryan Paul Badman of Jordan, NY, studying physics and applied mathematics in SU’s College of Arts & Sciences. Ryan studied SU chemistry through SUPA at Jordan-Elbridge (NY) High School.
- Amanda Noel Balch of Sparrow Bush, NY, studying biology in SU’s College of Arts & Sciences. Amanda studied SU calculus through SUPA at Port Jervis (NY) High School.
- Adam Perry Dukoff of Hewlett, NY, studying finance and accounting in SU’s Whitman School. Adam studied SU accounting and public affairs through SUPA at Hewlett (NY) High School.
- Jesse Michael Feitel of East Northport, NY, studying political science and public communication studies in SU’s College of Arts & Sciences and S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. Jesse studied SU English and writing through SUPA at Northport (NY) High School.
- Matthew John Musacchio of Canastota, NY, studying public relations in SU’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. Matthew studied SU English, writing, and biology through SUPA at Canastota (NY) High School.
For more information on Remembrance Scholars and Remembrance Week, visit remembrance.syr.edu.
For the full Remembrance Scholarships press release, click here.
SUPA has hired as communications manager Joshua Davis, M.A., SU Newhouse ‘10, a resident of Liverpool, NY.
Davis will be responsible for marketing and communications strategy and tactics for SUPA, one of the nation’s oldest and most rigorous concurrent enrollment programs, now celebrating its 40th year. Davis joins at a time when SUPA is expanding both programmatically and geographically. In 1972-1973, it organized five courses in nine schools for 400 students. Today, it offers 35 courses to more than 9,400 students in 184 schools across five states and three continents!
Davis was born and raised in Baltimore MD, moving to Syracuse, NY in 2006 to pursue a master’s degree in advertising at SU’s SI Newhouse School of Public Communications, having earned a B.S. (’05) in Corporate Communications from the University of Baltimore.
“I lived in an SU South Campus ‘married student’ apartment with my wife and then-five-year-old daughter and came to love the university and this community,” says Davis. His family has since moved to Liverpool, NY, and it has grown to include his daughter, now 11 years old, and a five-year-old son (both in the Liverpool (NY) Central School District), plus a dog!
Before joining SUPA, Davis worked at Aspen Dental in East Syracuse, NY; Mark Russell & Associates and Eric Mower & Associates, both in Syracuse, NY; and Bon Secours Health System in Baltimore, MD. “When the chance to work for SUPA came about, I gravitated immediately toward it. It was an opportunity to use my skills in marketing and communications for a positive impact in the community.”
SUPA is always looking to expand its offerings. The following Syracuse University courses have been designed to be taught in high school environments, and having been successfully piloted, they are now ready for widespread adoption by SUPA partners. Those interested in adding these courses to their SUPA curriculum should contact the administrator responsible for the course. For more information on SUPA courses, click here.
CPS 100 Introduction to Animation & Game Development (3 credits)
- SU Faculty: Robert J. Irwin
- SUPA Administrator: Gerald Edmonds
- This three-credit course offers a highly visual, non-mathematical introduction to computing and computer programming in the Alice development environment, which allows students without prior experience to rapidly create 3D virtual worlds like those seen in video games.
EAR 203 Earth System Science (4 credits)
- SU Faculty: Daniel Curewitz
- SUPA Administrator: William R. Newell
- EAR 203 illustrates the interconnectedness of biologic, hydrologic, atmospheric, and geologic processes in shaping our planet. This new approach to geology reflects a more integrated view toward the study of Earth.
FIN 200 Introduction to Personal Finance (3 credits)
- SU Faculty: Donald H. Dutkowsky
- SUPA Administrator: Gerald Edmonds
- FIN 200 covers essential aspects of consumer personal finance, including record keeping, budgeting, banking, saving, borrowing, investing, insurance, taxes, and retirement planning.
LAT 201 Latin III (4 credits)
- SU Faculty: Jeffrey Carnes
- SUPA Administrator: William R. Newell
- LAT 201 is intended for students who have successfully completed two semesters of university Latin or three years of high school Latin. Through review of elementary morphology and syntax and further study of idioms, rhetorical figures, and increasingly complex syntactical constructions, the student will transition from reading adapted to reading unadapted Latin text.
LAT 310 Latin Prose Authors (3 credits)
- SU Faculty: Jeffrey Carnes
- SUPA Administrator: William R. Newell
- In this course, students will continue to develop their Latin skills as they read Catullus and other selected Roman authors chosen by the students.
LAT 320 Latin Poets (3 credits)
- SU Faculty: Jeffrey Carnes
- SUPA Administrator: William R. Newell
- Latin 320 begins with prose texts (Cicero’s Catilinarian Orations, Sallust’s De Catilinae Coniuratione), then moves on to poetry (selections from Catullus and Lucretius).
SPM 205 Principles & Contemporary Issues in Sport Management (3 credits)
- SU Faculty: Gina Pauline
- SUPA Administrator: Eric Young
- SPM 205 introduces sport management concepts and sectors through an examination of problems and issues faced by contemporary sport managements.
ECS 102 Introduction to Computing (3 credits)
- Faculty: Robert J. Irwin
- Administrator: Gerald Edmonds
- ECS 102 covers computing concepts, principles of programming, applications of computing concepts, and problem-solving in engineering and computer science. New for 2012-2013, instructors can choose to teach in either the C++ or Java programming language.
What do you get when you bring together SUPA students’ work in one place? An explosion of talent!
SUPA students are some of the brightest stars in their schools. Ready for the challenge of university courses, they don’t just aim for the moon, they launch themselves into a whole new galaxy of learning.
While every SUPA student offers something extraordinary, every year SUPANOVA–the long-running journal of student work, now in its 15th year–has the difficult task of shining a light on only a few of the works submitted. Unfortunately, not every one can be published, but we thank all of those who submitted and congratulate those who were chosen to represent SUPA and their schools.
This year’s SUPANOVA explores topics in Syracuse University’s Writing 105 (look for the cool graphic essay!), Sociology 101, Economics 203, and Psychology 205 courses. You’ll find that these students aren’t just repeating the themes and examples of their textbooks. Rather, they question real, diverse issues that confront them every day—body consciousness, consumerism, and the Great Recession, to name a few.
We are sure you will be impressed with the essays in SUPANOVA 2012 and with the effort that went into them by students throughout our enhanced concurrent enrollment program. Surely, a new generation of star thinkers is in the making!
Click on the image to read SUPANOVA online, or download the PDF.
As an inner city school, Murry Bergtraum High School—located in Manhattan’s Lower East Side—may face many challenges, but that has not stop it believing in and investing in its students.
One way Murry Bergtraum is showing its commitment to its diverse student population is by partnering with Syracuse University Project Advance (SUPA)—an enhanced concurrent enrollment program that offers SU courses in high schools. The school began its partnership with SUPA in 2010; this year it is moving its partnership into a higher gear by creating a “SUPA Academy” within the school.
Murry Bergtraum’s SUPA Academy offers qualified students 15 SU introductory courses, ranging from ACC 151 Introduction to Financial Accounting to WRT 105 Practices of Academic Writing. A team of 12 “SUPA Academy Teachers”—current Murry Bergtraum teachers trained as SU adjunct instructors—teach the courses during the school day. SUPA faculty advisors from various SU departments are working with the Murry Bergtraum teachers and, once a semester, they will visit with the school and students.
Students who pass the courses receive SU credit that can be used at SU or transferred to other colleges. Currently, Murry Bergtraum has 12 of its graduates at SU, some with as many as 22 credits in hand at matriculation.
The SUPA Academy was officially launched on Sept. 14, 2012 at “SUPA Day” on the Murry Bergtraum campus. Dubbed an “academic pep rally,” SUPA Day consisted of two concurrent sessions attended by approximately 80 students. SUPA faculty advisor Prof. Marlene F. Blumin, Director of the Study Skills Program in SU’s School of Education, spoke about college learning strategies (CLS 105 College Learning Strategies will be taught at Murry Bergtraum), and Dr. Patrick Williams of the SU Library showed the students how to use the library’s advanced research tools, to become “information literate” and to better their chances at college and career success.
“No school has put on a ‘SUPA Day’ before. It was outstanding!” says Murry Bergtraum SUPA Coordinator Dr. Carolyn Powell. “The purpose was to get students geared up for the fall semester and understand the importance of the courses. Representatives from the New York State Department of Education were also on hand to see our partnership with SU in action. They thought it was great!”
“SUPA Day was a celebration of learning. We called the students ‘academic athletes!’” says Dr. Gerald Edmonds, SUPA director. “For some of these students, SUPA Academy will be the first real interaction they have had with university faculty and university-level instructional and course materials. At Murry Bergtraum, SUPA students won’t just be talking about college or dreaming about it—they’ll be living and learning it!”
“SUPA Academy is an opportunity for Murry Bergtraum students to go anywhere, if they work hard and study right,” Edmonds continues. “The high school’s teachers and administrators thanked us for the partnership SU and SUPA have forged with them, and the students were thrilled to receive an ‘academic go-bag,’ filled with pens, pencils, planners, and other useful SU gear!”
Syracuse University Project Advance (SUPA) faculty advisor Prof. Marlene F. Blumin, Director of the Study Skills Program in SU’s School of Education, speaks about college learning strategies to Murry Bergtraum High School students in New York City on Sept. 14, 2012. Blumin’s talk was part of an “academic pep rally” to launch the SUPA Academy at Murry Bergtraum.
WBNG in Binghamton, NY aired a story Sept. 20, 2012 describing the new Syracuse University (SU) Forensic Science class being taught for the first time at Johnson City High School in Johnson City, NY, thanks to the school’s partnership with SU Project Advance.
Through SUPA, this course—SU CHE 113—is taught during the school day to qualified seniors by Johnson City HS teachers who have been trained as SU adjunct professors. Students who pass the course will be given SU university credit that can be transferred to other colleges.
According to WBNG, 28 seniors at Johnson City High School are enrolled in the course. Each has been provided with a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 to access CHE 113′s e-textbook, and the WBNG story describes how they are using the built-in cameras to gather data from outdoor mock crime scenes.
“We want to get kids college ready,” Chris Towney, Johnson City HS Forensics and Chemistry teacher, told WBNG. “They are so excited to use the tablets, not only because the textbook is on there but they can take notes from it. They can have access the Internet whenever they want it. It’s a really great tool.”
For the complete story, click here.
Students from Johnson City (NY) High School’s Forensic Science class—taught at the school in partnership with Syracuse University Project Advance—pore over a field looking for evidence.
As a SUPA partner you already know about the advantages of our accredited, challenging, and valuable concurrent enrollment program—but do you have colleagues in other school districts who are looking to introduce advanced HS courses that offer more than a test score and to provide significant professional development opportunities for teachers, who benefit from our partnership with one of the nation’s top research universities?
If so, upcoming information sessions will give them the chance to learn all about Project Advance, now celebrating its 40th year. The following sessions are planned for October:
- Oct. 4 in Parsippany, NJ
- Oct. 15 in Framingham, MA
- Oct. 16 in Carle Place, NY
- Oct. 17 in Cheektowaga, NY
Those who wish to register online should visit supa.syr.edu/infomtg. Registrants will receive materials to take back to their schools, including a useful summary document that compares SUPA to similar programs, such as AP and IB.
For those interested in Project Advance but unable to attend an information session, contact SUPA at 315.443.2404 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
As part of our effort to provide teachers and students with useful and practical instructional tools, SUPA has created online training materials for TurnItIn, which is best known as a plagiarism checker for papers but which also offers the ability for teachers and students to review papers at any stage during the writing process.
Teachers from partner schools who wish to use TurnItIn can learn more about the service here. The service is free to our partners; simply e-mail Dr. Rob Pusch to get an ID and a password for SUPA’s licensed version of TurnItIn.
SUPA’s step-by-step guide to using TurnItIn—created by our Instructional Services staff—includes the following:
- Instructions on setting up an account, creating assignments, and enrolling and managing students.
- How to use the Originality Report, aka the plagiarism checker.
- How to provide teacher comments and review (in text or audio) to papers during the writing process.
- How to let students provide peer review during the writing process.
- How to assign progress and final paper grades within the TurnItIn system.
Syracuse University Project Advance (SUPA) kicked off the 2012 edition of its Summer Institute training on June 25. The annual event this year brings 116 high school teachers from across the Northeast and abroad to the SU campus to be trained to teach SU courses in their high schools, as part of SUPA’s enhanced concurrent enrollment program.
The three-week Summer Institute runs through July 20, with teachers training in small group workshops to teach courses from Accounting to Web Design. In all, 23 courses are being introduced to the teachers at this year’s institute. Teachers who successfully complete Summer Institute become certified SU adjunct instructors, qualified to teach the SU courses for which they have been trained.
New courses joining SUPA’s roster in 2012 are sport management, an essential introduction to this growing field designed by Prof. Gina Pauline of SU’s David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics, and personal finance, a course that offers practical advice about loans, credit cards, investments, savings, and taxes, designed by Prof. Don Dutkowsky of the Department of Economics in SU’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.
A total of 61 schools have sent teachers to work with SU faculty. They are visiting from schools as close as the Syracuse City School District and as far as districts in Topsfield, MA and Saddlebrook, NJ … and further afield still.
For the first time, SUPA’s Summer Institute welcomes teachers from Vietnam’s International School Ho Chi Minh City (ISHCMC) and ISHCMC-American Academy. Teachers Nathan Bryant, Heather Carreiro, Rae Deely, and Michael Jollimore, will learn how to teach SU economics, writing and English, calculus, and physics respectively.
Carreiro is joining the ISHCMC-American Academy English faculty in fall 2012 having most recently lived in Fall River, MA. “My supervisor is really excited about Project Advance, and he asked me to attend Summer Institute because, thanks to my master’s in English, I’m qualified to teach SU courses,” she says. “This is an exciting opportunity for me, to teach university-level courses in a high school and to offer Vietnamese students who want to study in the US the chance to shift their worldview, learn to think critically, challenge their understanding of what knowledge is, and get a taste of American culture.”
Carreiro, who also has taught in Pakistan, says that Asian education methods are quite different from those in the US. One challenge she’ll face is encouraging the students to join a research and analytical conversation in their studies rather than simply synthesize what others have said about a subject. The tools and exercises she’s learning at Summer Institute will help her do this, she says.
“Another challenge of teaching SU’s writing courses to my Vietnamese students is anchoring the texts they will analyze in experiences they understand,” Carreio notes. “They might not necessarily know the references to American culture in our books, so I’m curious about how to adapt my course so that it is relevant and interesting to them.”
Also new to Summer Institute this year are two additional “core strategies workshops,” customized for 7th to 10th grade teachers, that continue SUPA’s long-standing commitment to offer its secondary school partners relevant, practical, and leading-edge professional development opportunities. These workshops—Strategic Learning and Reading With Purpose—give teachers the tools they need to impart college readiness skills (such as effective note taking, active reading, and critical thinking) to college-bound students.
Heather Carreiro, a high school English teacher from the International School Ho Chi Minh City-American Academy, Vietnam, visited Syracuse University campus in 2012 to train as an SU adjunct instructor of writing and English in order to join the SU Project Advance concurrent enrollment program.
Senior Matthew Skinner was given a surprise at Oswego, NY High School’s Awards Assembly when it was announced he had won the Lt. Nathan Hollingsworth Williams Outstanding Syracuse University (SU) Economics Scholar Award for 2012. The award is given to a student who—like Williams, a 2000 Oswego HS graduate who was killed while serving in the US Navy—is dedicated to academic excellence and leadership in addition to being highly involved in his or her school’s learning community.
Skinner’s award was announced at the assembly, where the Williams family was in attendance, and he was presented the official plaque later at his graduation.
“When any family loses a service member, it impacts the entire community,” says Ed Stacy, an Oswego HS economics teacher who also teaches SU economics at his high school through Project Advance. Stacy notes that Williams’ parents are both well-known in the community—his father, Alan, taught at Minetto, NY Elementary School and his mother, Gay, is a local attorney. “There was a large public outpouring at the news of Nathan’s passing because so many students had been taught by his father,” says Stacy. “So, I reached out to the SU economics department and Project Advance to see if there was a way to honor Nathan’s memory at Oswego HS.”
Nathan’s family is well-connected with SU. His mother attended SU Law School, and Nathan and his two brothers all took SU economics at Oswego HS through Project Advance. After graduating Oswego HS, Nathan attended the University of Rochester through the ROTC program before joining the Navy in 2004 and serving in Afghanistan. In April 2011, Williams, then 28, was killed in a plane crash during a training mission in California.
It’s Stacy’s job each year to choose the recipient of the Williams Scholarship Award. This year, he turned to one of his SU economics students. True to the memory of Nathan Williams, Skinner stood out—he is an accomplished athlete, he is in the top 15 in his class, and he is planning to go through the ROTC program at SU. “He’s just an outstanding member of his school community; highly respected by his peers and teachers; and he comes from a great family,” Stacy says.
Skinner took advanced classes, such as SU economics, throughout high school and served as the captain on the all-league soccer team for two years. In addition, he was involved with the television program at his school, doing play-by-play and color commentary for sports broadcasts in the winter season. “The kids respect him for his intelligence and his integrity,” Stacy adds.
“Everything I do, I’m leading,” says Skinner, reflecting on the leadership roles he has taken in his school projects. “That’s what I want to do in life.”
Skinner says that he will be attending SU in the fall through the ROTC program on a full scholarship and that he plans to go into the Armed Forces, like Williams. His aspirations also include completing the pre-med program and becoming a radiologist. “Getting the award was completely unexpected! It means a lot because it comes from Nathan Williams,” he says. “It’s a really good feeling knowing that you’re associated with Nate since he was such a good guy. It makes you want to live up to those expectations.”
(L to R) Matthew Skinner of Oswego High School and Oswego HS economics teacher Edward Stacy hold a plaque commemorating Skinner’s 2012 Lt. Nathan Hollingsworth Williams Outstanding Syracuse University Economics Scholar Award.
What qualities should a Teacher of the Year have? Should he or she be memorable, or well-liked, or have students who regularly achieve outstanding test scores? Certainly, all these are necessary to be an effective teacher, says Maria Zeitlin Trinkle. But a Teacher of the Year needs something extra. For Zeitlin Trinkle, it’s the ability to get students to exchange ideas actively with peers and elders and to mold them into lifelong learners who become teachers themselves, whether or not they find work in a classroom.
“Spreading an informed web of knowledge,” says Zeitlin Trinkle. “That’s education!”
Zeitlin Trinkle is a chemistry teacher and coordinator of the science research program at Syracuse University Project Advance (SUPA) partner Smithtown High School East in Saint James, NY and an SU adjunct instructor who teaches SU chemistry at her high school through SUPA. She is one of two 2012 SUPA Teachers of the Year.
She is joined by Jeremy Wertheim, a sociology teacher at SUPA partner Bergen County Technical High School in Teterboro, NJ, and an SU sociology adjunct instructor. Receiving an honorable mention this year is Sara Primerano, an English teacher at SUPA partner Liverpool High School in Liverpool, NY and an SU English and writing adjunct instructor. All three will be honored at this year’s SUPA Summer Institute Welcome Breakfast at the Sheraton Syracuse University, 801 University Avenue, Syracuse, NY at 8:00 a.m. on June 25, 2012.
“These teachers exemplify the skills, qualities, and accomplishments that truly define a Teacher of the Year,” says SUPA Director Dr. Gerald Edmonds. “Namely, a commitment to innovative and effective real-world learning strategies; a determination to prepare students to be successful, engaged student citizens in high school, college, and beyond; and a demonstrated passion for teaching. SUPA is grateful for the opportunity to showcase these talented and dedicated teachers.”
In their nomination packets, each of the teachers outlined the innovative strategies they use to elicit debate and free inquiry in their classrooms, to deepen students’ knowledge of a topic, and to connect classroom lessons to students’ own experiences.
One strategy that stood out was Wertheim’s “Coffee House Project.”
“I saw a similar technique being used at New York University,” recalls Wertheim. “In my version, I set up a room like a coffee house and bring in coffee and donuts. People chuckle about the artifice of the setting, but it creates a safe space to get discussion going.”
Wertheim has students volunteer to chat about a sociology topic with their peers, and, like the NYU version, he invites other teachers and administrators to eavesdrop. “Students discuss sociology issues such as identity, race, and class. Our textbook is a starting point, but it’s very much a Socratic dialog, and I allow students to make connections between the topics and their experiences.”
At a certain point, the conversation is opened up to the “eavesdroppers,” and the discussion widens, giving students a chance to debate in a highly intellectual setting. That sounds like pressure, but the students warm to it, says Wertheim, maturing as they do.
Projecting the textbook outside the classroom is a technique Zeitlin Trinkle employs. A classroom should not be a dead-end, she believes, but a gateway. “We never learn from just one place; we must connect everything we do to experience. In my classes, there’s always something we’re connecting to, and students I’ve sent to college often write to me saying those connections are still happening.”
Zeitlin Trinkle says she’s not just creating chemists in her classroom but also informed citizens. “That’s the most important thing I do as an educator. Chemists don’t live in a bubble. They will be tomorrow’s policy makers, and they need to learn that decisions have impacts.” That’s why Zeitlin Trinkle’s chemistry lessons often have a “ripped from the headlines” feel to them. “When we discuss the electromagnetic spectrum, we talk about cell phones. When we look at ultraviolet light, we look at tanning. I created Project Choice at my school to explore the science of hard drugs and what they do to a body, so students can make informed decisions.”
For her nuclear chemistry module, Zeitlin Trinkle has her chemists work with social studies students, to examine the subject in the context of World War II. “This way, I challenge their naivety about the impact science can have. All the students come alive, working together to get a more complete picture. We’re buzzing after the lectures; kids talk about the subject in the hallways!”
In Sara Primerano’s writing classroom, free debate begins with “deconstruction,” a tricky analytical concept even for college students, let alone high schoolers. “I want my students to be able to understand arguments, especially those that use emotional appeals on them.
To make this concept stick, Primerano has students unpack arguments in the contemporary school reform debate. “This gives my students a chance to enter a debate that affects their own lives. They are, after all, the target of reform,” she says. “We watch Waiting for Superman and analyze how it persuades its audience. The students then create their own mini-documentaries.
As with Wertheim and Zeitlin Trinkle, Primerano’s students are expected to get in the habit of communicating what they have learned to peers and elders—in this case, school administrators are invited to view their final projects. It’s a nerve-wracking task, surely, to offer views on school reform to professional educators. “But they’re up for it,” says Primerano. “The whole module is a shared experience and mutually beneficial. In getting to grips with a complex topic, my students help me re-think reform.”
“It’s so easy to take great teachers for granted,” says SUPA Associate Director John Fiset. “They can make what they do seem so effortless because they have committed endless hours to perfecting their craft. As students, we’ve all had truly outstanding teachers, and in each case they live with us for the rest of our lives. How fortunate we are to be able to recognize these excellent professionals.”
(L to R) Jeremy Wertheim, a sociology teacher at SUPA partner Bergen County Technical High School in Teterboro, NJ; Maria Zeitlin Trinkle, a chemistry teacher at SUPA partner Smithtown High School East in Saint James, NY; and Sara Primerano, an English teacher at SUPA partner Liverpool High School in Liverpool, NY.
Any professional forensics expert will tell you, the way a crime is solved on the CSI TV shows is just not how it’s done in real life. On TV, a single hair or thread of clothing quickly yields the perpetrator; in reality, all evidence has to be minutely examined, all leads followed, and a case carefully pieced together out of shards of information.
It’s a painstaking, highly scientific process, one that forensics students from Syracuse University Project Advance (SUPA) partner Plainedge High School in North Massapequa, NY understand a little better now they have taken part in Forensics World’s 12th Annual CSI Challenge, held at SUNY Stony Brook on June 4, 2012.
Plainedge has been sending teams to CSI Challenge for 11 years. This year, it sent two teams, and the school had its best showing ever—“Team B” placed 2nd and “Team A” placed 6th.
“Actually, Team B was only pulled together in February,” explains Maureen Chiolo, who teaches SU forensic science at her high school through SUPA. Team B therefore had to play catch up on the extensive training required to take part in the competition. “Of course, primary training is through our SU forensic science class,” explains Chiolo, “but we also hold after-school meetings and sessions on fingerprinting, entomology, ballistics, interviewing, and other specialties required on the day.”
The two teams from Plainedge were among 34 taking part in this year’s competition. Just as in previous years, teams were presented with a crime scenario well in advance of the daylong session. For the 2012 edition, the teams were asked to solve the murder of Maximus, a fictional magician who had opened his own circus after being fired from another. Murder suspects were a host of characters you might find working for a circus, such as Zelda the fortuneteller, an acrobat called Magnus the Magnificent, and Chuckles the Clown.
At the event, the students get to work on the fictional crime scene—complete with blood spatter, fingerprints, and other forensic evidence—and on computers filled with digital clues. Scientists and law enforcement officials observe the students and grade them on leadership, professionalism, analyses of evidence, interviews, and other criteria.
“It’s a lot of work, and it’s a long, long day,” says Chiolo, who explains that teachers are not allowed to interact with their students while they crime solve. “That’s why we prepare so hard. It’s gut-wrenching for me not to be able to talk to them!”
But Chiolo says that her students loved the experience and that they are ecstatic that their hard work paid off with such high scores. “I don’t think my students have ever been exposed to anything like this competition, where they work as a team, solving a complex puzzle,” she says. “The competition exposes them to so much. One student whom I brought in late on says he wants to change his major, and he’s now doing his own research on digital forensics!”
“Team B” from the Plainedge High School (North Massapequa, NY) SU forensic science program show off the 2nd Place award they earned at the 12th Annual CSI Challenge at SUNY Stony Brook on June 4, 2012.
The Research Program at Syracuse University Project Advance (SUPA) partner Smithtown High School East in Saint James, NY has announced that SUPA chemistry student Taylor Trentadue is the first ever recipient of the Stony Brook Orthopaedic Musculoskeletal Scholarship.
SUNY-Stony Brook’s University Medical Center and Department of Orthopaedics have invited Taylor to present her research at the Sports Medicine Symposium on May 11 and at the Orthopaedic Surgery Resident Research Day on June 20.
Taylor’s project—“The Correlation Between the Frequency of Cell Phone Text Messaging and the Occurrence of Symptoms of Orthopaedic Trauma to Joints of the Hand”—was an in-house project mentored by Maria Zeitlin Trinkle, a Smithtown research coordinator who also teaches Syracuse University chemistry classes at her high school through SUPA.
According to Trinkle, “Taylor analyzed the text messaging habits of adolescents and the incidence of precursor, and sometime overt, symptoms of hand trauma. In this decade of quickly evolving hand-held devices, it will be important to safeguard our hands and how we use this technology.”
Taylor first became interested in medical issues of the hand after a summer internship with an orthopedic surgeon. She says she is eager to continue her science career with medical studies at either Duke University, SUNY-Stony Brook, or the Massachusetts Institute of Technology—all of which have accepted this talented student.
(L to R) Smithtown High School East Principal Ed Thompson, SUPA student Taylor Trentadue, and Maria Zeitlin Trinkle, Smithtown HS research coordinator and Syracuse University adjunct instructor.
Donna Schwedfeger, who teaches Syracuse University’s CHE 113 forensic science course at SUPA partner Penfield High School (PHS), near Rochester, NY, received special mention (along with colleague Kimberly Bradshaw) in her school’s newsletter after she and guest lecturer Dr. Ann Bunch of SUNY-Brockport set up an “open forensics lab” at PHS so curious students and others could drop by to learn more about the subject.
“We set out partial human skeletons as if we had just unearthed remains,” says Schedfeger. “Dr. Bunch walked us through what she saw, and kids came in with questions. What a hit!”
Bunch spoke about how forensic anthropologists may be called upon by law enforcement agencies, coroners, medical examiners, and forensic pathologists to assist in the recovery of human remains, conduct skeletal analyses for the purposes of identification, describe the nature and extent of skeletal trauma, and potentially provide expert testimony in a court of law.
Schwedfeger’s principal, Thomas Putnam, ended up staying the whole period, later writing in the school’s newsletter, “I had the pleasure of visiting Donna’s classroom. She set up an ‘open lab’ for students interested in forensic anthropology. About a dozen students dropped by to analyze human remains, ask questions, and learn a lot. I thought I would share since I also found it very interesting. We have some very talented students with a hunger for knowledge!”
(L to R) Kimberly Bradshaw, Donna Schwedfeger, and Dr. Ann Bunch.
Writes Jerry Evensky, professor of economics at Syracuse University and a Project Advance faculty liaison, “We’ve all had teachers we remember as strong, maybe even as inspiring. For me, Herbert Behrend was such a teacher. He was a high school teacher I had growing up in New Orleans. He taught me physics, and he taught it well.
“But what inspired me was that he taught me, through an exploration of the history of astronomy, that our understanding of the physical world and our vision of the human condition have to complement one another. So, when the earth was no longer seen as the center of the universe, humanity had to rethink its place in the universe. Mr. Behrend did the physics curriculum very well, but he “owned” enough of the time he had with us to bring this passion into the classroom. I still feel that passion. I still appreciate that passion.
“Teachers should be held accountable for their success, as measured by state assessments of their students’ mastery of the common curriculum. But these assessments can never capture the full value that these teaching professionals bring to this enterprise.”
For the full article—”Passion for Teaching Matters”—from the Albany Times-Union, click here.
Syracuse University Project Advance has launched SUPA Parent, an informational blog to help parents of high school students quickly and conveniently navigate and understand the enhanced concurrent enrollment program’s course offerings, its selection criteria, tuition and financial aid, SU’s registration process, credit transfer policies, and more.
Bookmark SUPA Parent for an access to a range of “frequently asked questions” about taking SU courses while still in high school, as well as important deadlines (such as registration, drop/add, course withdrawal) and useful links. And if you don’t find the answer you are looking for, you can submit a question through the blog—or contact the program in other ways.
SUPA Parent joins several other methods for students, teachers, administrators, and parents to get in touch with the program and find answers to questions such as “What kind of courses does SUPA offer?” and “How do I transfer the university credits I’ve earned?”—you can e-mail email@example.com, phone (315.443.2404), live chat, or simply browse the website.
When a student transitions from high school to college, he or she encounters a social and academic culture unlike any encountered before.
The transition is not so much a stepping up from one institution to another—the same culture, just more intense—as a crossing into a totally different realm, where a student is expected to become a self-directed, active learner able to problem-solve, think critically, and self-correct—all while becoming a responsible adult.
Just think of the first few weeks of an undergraduate’s career and of the many kinds of complicated texts across a variety of subjects he or she is quickly loaded up with, material that the student is expected to competently read, understand, interpret, and synthesize on his or her own.
Part of the mission of Syracuse University Project Advance (SUPA)—an enhanced concurrent enrollment program that offers SU courses in high schools—is to provide high school students college readiness tools, programs, and services to help them navigate through—and succeed in—post-secondary education.
Recently, Syracuse University Writing Program and SUPA faculty liaisons Anne Fitzsimmons and Jonna Gilfus—along with SUPA Associate Director Christina Parish—piloted a new college readiness professional development workshop for middle and high school teachers called “Reading with Purpose.”
Fitzsimmons and Gilfus presented the workshop at SUPA partner Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School in New Jersey on Feb. 14, 2012. The workshop provided teachers with ideas and strategies for how to incorporate core reading and writing skills effectively in different subject areas. It is an abbreviated version of a two-day workshop that will be launched June 26 and 27 as part of SUPA’s Summer Institute, and it is the first in SUPA’s comprehensive new series of professional development workshops, “Core Strategies: Preparing College-Ready Readers and Writers.”
The Rumson-Fair Haven workshop gathered teachers from across the disciplines in math, science, English, history, and special education. Participants shared their perceptions about “who their students are as readers and writers” and the kinds of reading and writing skills with which their students struggle.
Many teachers noted the effects of both social media and standardized testing on students’ literacy practices. They commented, for example, on the ways in which students’ academic writing was permeated by more informal and abbreviated modes of reading (blogs, Facebook postings) and writing (text messaging and tweeting). They also expressed concern over students’ lack of intellectual curiosity or risk-taking beyond the “task at hand” and difficulty engaging in close, careful reading of texts—including instructions critical in a lab or exam setting.
In other words, the gulf is growing between the analytical reading and writing students are expected to do in university and the workplace and that which they practice everyday when communicating with friends, consuming media, and surfing the Internet—or merely “studying to the test.”
But that is not to say college readiness skills cannot build on more informal reading and writing strategies. Fitzsimmons and Gilfus discussed with teachers shifts in how students consume media, in moving from what’s been termed a “read only” culture to a “read/write culture,” and how such interactions might be a place to develop active and purposeful reading and writing in the classroom.
Some of the strategies Fitzsimmons and Gilfus offered at the Rumson-Fair Haven workshop call on students to slow down and deliberately spend time with a single text, as a way to “do more with less.” Other exercises suggest ways to encourage students to become more flexible and motivated readers, who can move between the global and the local and situate their ideas within a larger conceptual framework.
A second “Reading with Purpose” pilot workshop will be held at Thousand Islands High School in Clayton, NY on March 19, 2012.
She’s through to the finals—and that means dinner with the president!
Rachel Davis—a SUPA student from Smithtown High School East in St. James, NY—is one of only 40 students in the country named a finalist of the Intel Science Talent Search (Intel STS), a prestigious national science research competition for high school seniors. Along with SUPA instructor Maria Zeitlin Trinkle, coordinator of Smithtown East’s Science Research Program, Davis will go to Washington, DC for a ceremony that includes a black tie dinner with President Barack Obama.
See below for the story about how Davis made the semi-finals.
Intel STS finalist Rachel Davis (third from left) stands with her parents and science teacher and SUPA instructor Maria Zeitlin Trinkle (right).
High school students who successfully completed Syracuse University courses at Archbishop Williams HS in Braintree, MA were honored at a luncheon held at the school Jan. 18, 2012. The ceremony was an opportunity to invite students, parents, teachers, and partnering dual enrollment programs to recognize the great opportunities to take courses for college credit at Archbishop Williams. SUPA is one of student are (L to R) Principal Mary Lou Sadowski and President Carmen Mariano.
Rachel Davis—a SUPA student from Smithtown High School East in St. James, NY—has been selected as a semi-finalist in the Intel Science Talent Search (Intel STS), a prestigious national science research competition for high school seniors. From 1,839 applicants, 300 were selected as semi-finalists. This field will be further narrowed to 40 finalists on Jan. 25, 2012.
Davis’s project—“Engineering Biodegradable Flame Retardant Polymers”—was mentored by Dr. Miriam Rafailovich of SUNY-Stony Brook. Davis says inspiration for the project came from her experience of when her family’s house burned down in 2007. It was then that her father, and then later Rachel, joined their town’s volunteer fire department. Davis recently completed her training to become a nationally certified firefighter.
“Rachel’s passion for firefighting made her a natural for a project involving flame retardant polymers,” says Maria Zeitlin Trinkle, coordinator of Smithtown East’s Science Research Program and a SUPA chemistry instructor. “She has such enthusiasm for her research, and she exudes excitement every time she enters the lab. She is a genuine scientist—the real deal. She loves exploring material science and creating polymers, and she gets positively giddy when she is asked to discuss her research.”
Trinkle has a fine track record of nurturing excellent young scientists. Last year, three of her Science Research Program students were selected as semi-finalists in the 2010-11 Young Epidemiology Scholars Competition.
Davis says she wants to continue working on her research in order to create the ideal polymer blend that will serve as a biodegradable flame retardant plastic.
According to Davis, “There has been increased pressure on manufacturers of plastics to produce materials that are not harmful to the environment and its inhabitants. These plastics must be biodegradable and not release harmful toxins into the environment. It is also important that these materials are flame retardant as fire safety regulations increase on the industrial and domestic fronts. Therefore, flame retardant additives must be added to biodegradable polymers to create the perfect plastic.”
In the lab, Davis worked with a resorcinol bis-diphenyl-phosphate (RDP) soaked cellulose in a polylactic acid (PLA)-polybutylene adipate coterephthalate (PBAT) blend.
Aron Chizik—a teacher at West Islip High School on Long Island, NY and a Syracuse University American History adjunct instructor—was recently featured on the Teaching Channel. He was an attendee of the Celebration of Teaching and Learning 2011 Conference in New York City. Chizik, a SUPA instructor, says he is passionate about civil rights movements and about enlightening his students to the struggles of communities that are more diverse than their own. The video profiles his experiences at the conference and how he incorporated the information and inspiration he received into his teaching practice when he returned to his school.
SUPA instructor Ledia Mullen—a sociology teacher at TR Proctor High School in Utica, NY for the past 10 years—has been awarded a prestigious National Board Professional Teaching Certificate by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), an independent organization that advances teaching by developing standards of excellence.
Mullen says she decided to pursue National Board Certification for three reasons: to reflect on her teaching practice in order to better serve a diverse school population; to proactively respond to the pressure to increase performance at her school, identified as in need of restructuring by New York State; and to continue her quest for knowledge. “The pressure to increase test scores and graduation rates is taking focus away from what we teachers signed up to do—be lifelong learners,” says Mullen.
The year-long process included several forms of assessment. For instance, Mullen submitted a portfolio of student work that reflected on how she approaches and evaluates writing assignments. Her audio-visual component consisted of a student discussion about social misconceptions of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality. As for examples of work outside the classroom, Mullen included an Anti Bully Initiative she started in her SUPA sociology class and her involvement in the Red Cross Exploring Humanitarian Law (EHL) program. Mullen says EHL tools help her discuss war and conflict with students from war-torn countries such as Sudan, Myanmar, and Afghanistan.
Then there was the exam. “The exam certainly made me empathize with my students, especially since I had not taken a standardized test in years,” explains Mullen. “The spatial arrangements on exam day were quite intimidating. I was not allowed to use my own pencil, had to lock up my personal belongings, had to unwrap my cough drop in order to carry it in, and had my fingerprints taken.”
Restricted exam environments, believes Mullen, create unnecessary pressure, especially for English Language Learners who may have only been in the US a couple of years before taking, say, the New York State Regents Exams. “In addition, they have experienced personal trauma the effects of which are obvious during exams,” she notes. “I have seen them cry, shake, stare into their papers, and struggle to hold a pencil.” Mullen says the NBPTS exam reaffirmed her belief that exams are not good indicators of content knowledge but rather how well a student performs under pressure.
Many of Mullen’s concurrent enrollment students are well used to exams, having taken Advance Placement classes. “The challenge is for these students to transition to the concurrent enrollment mindset,” says Mullen. “The fact that my SUPA course is not exam-based but an actual university course enables my students to reflect on the kind of learner they are and will become in their college career.”
Mullen observes that AP students can comprehend sophisticated writing but the SUPA sociology course she teaches asks them to do sophisticated writing and research. “A further advantage of concurrent enrollment is that my students, many of whom receive free or reduced lunch, benefit financially by earning college credits while in high school,” she adds.
Mullen says becoming a SUPA teacher is a great opportunity for professional development that students appreciate. “I have become a part of a network of teachers who are dedicated, take on challenging courses, and find wonderful support from an academically rigorous university,” she says. Her NBPTS accomplishment also is inspiring her colleagues to pursue certification. “In light of the torrent of pedagogical expectations, it’s important for us to reflect on our teaching, as a way to keep our feet on the ground and be reminded of why we decided to teach in the first place.”
Alexandra McHale, a senior and SUPA student at Smithtown High School East in Saint James, NY, credits Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) with providing her the crucial expertise and facilities needed to become a regional finalist in the 2011-2012 Siemens Competition in Math, Science, & Technology.
McHale is one of 96 regional finalists in the nation chosen from 2,436 students who submitted 1,542 projects. She won $1,000 for her project, titled “Element Analysis of Zea Mays var. Rugosa (Sweet Corn) Plant and its Soil Using X-ray Spectroscopy. ”
Finalists have the opportunity to compete in one of six regional events. McHale says she plans to do so on Nov. 18 to 19 at Carnegie Mellon University. If she is a finalist in that competition, she will win $3,000 and advance to compete in the national finals, where $500,000 in scholarships will be awarded, including two top prizes of $100,000.
McHale says she first got acquainted with BNL through its annual Science and Society Essay Contest administered by the BNL’s Office of Educational Programs (OEP). She entered the contest in 2010 and 2011 and won honorable mention in both years. Her science research teacher, SUPA Chemistry instructor Maria Zeitlin Trinkle, suggested that McHale apply for a mentor through BNL’s High School Research Program and facilitated her application, later contacting Scott Bronson, an educational programs administrator in OEP, about it.
Recognizing McHale’s enthusiasm for learning and exceptional ability in science, Bronson placed her in the BNL’s six-week High School Research Program. She worked in the program this summer, specifically at the National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS) with mentoring from Syed Khalid, a scientist in Photon Sciences.
“In my project, I wanted to see if I could detect 12 different elements in the root, stem, leaf, and kernel of the corn plant and the soil in which it was grown, and if the concentration of each element would decrease as it traveled from the soil to various parts of the plant,” McHale says. “I used X-ray absorption spectroscopy to accomplish this task.”
“Alexandra worked very hard on her project,” Khalid says. “She picked up scientific techniques very fast and was able to work independently most of the time.”
McHale successfully used X-rays at the NSLS to establish the relative concentration of the dozen elements under study in the corn plant’s various parts, as well as in the soil in which it grew. Among her findings, she showed that the corn kernel is a good source of potassium, iron, and calcium, and although chromium, cobalt, and nickel were present in the kernel, they were not in concentrations that would be considered harmful to health. Most of the elements traveled from the soil to the kernel.
In her research summary, McHale points out that malnutrition affects many developing countries, and an estimated 963 million people around the globe suffer from chronic hunger. Applications of her research project could include fortifying soil to increase the nutrients in corn and changing corn genetically so that it can supply inexpensive but very nutritious food to combat global hunger.
Siemens regional finalist Alexandra McHale (front right) conducted research for her prize-winning project at the National Synchrotron Light Source at the Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL). Joining her at beamline X19A, where she worked, are (from left) Scott Bronson, BNL educational programs administrator; McHale’s science research teacher, Maria Zeitlin Trinkle, Smithtown High School East in Saint James, NY; and McHale’s mentor, Syed Khalid, a BNL biophysicist in Photon Sciences.
The newly designed website for Syracuse University Project Advance (SUPA), a partnership between the Syracuse University (SU) and high schools that offers SU courses to high school seniors, has won gold at the 2011 MarCom Awards in the category of “educational institution.”
SUPA Associate Director Sari Signorelli and software engineer Avinash Kadaji spearheaded the design and programming of supa.syr.edu. The new website supports the mission of Project Advance by providing convenient and expanded access to resources for high school teachers, students, and administrators; SU faculty; and education researchers.
Among the website’s features are videos to augment descriptions of the SU courses high school seniors can take; access to online instructional resources for teachers; a blog written by SUPA students for students; and a live e-mail chat option for inquiries.
The MarCom Awards are administered and judged by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals (AMCP), an international organization made up of marketing, communication, advertising, public relations, media production, and free-lance professionals.
“I am pleased our hard work redeveloping our website has been recognized by peers in the marketing communications industry,” says Dr. Gerald Edmonds, SUPA director. “Our website is a central way for partner high schools to interact with our program, to communicate with the university and faculty, and to learn about the professional development we offer teachers and the support we offer students. Our mission pledges continuous improvement of our program, and the same goes for our website, which has been designed to evolve and expand.”
Students from the Paul V. Moore High School in Central Square, NY–taking an enhanced concurrent enrollment Syracuse University forensic science course through Project Advance and known as the Central Square Investigators (CSI)–were featured on WSYR News Channel 9 Nov. 4.
Using their knowledge of crime scene procedure; chemistry, math, and physics; and laboratory work, the students must try to figure out who assaulted a pair of campers and stole their money.
Who killed rock ‘n’ roll star Sly Vox? That is the question posed to teams of high school forensics students during the 11th annual CSI Challenge, put on by Forensics World at SUNY-Stony Brook on June 6. The winning team, from Riverhead High School, was composed of students in Kelly Evers’ SU Forensic Science class, offered through Syracuse University Project Advance (SUPA), as were five other teams in the competition’s top 20.
“We are very proud of the Project Advance sections of the SU Forensic Science classes that participate in the CSI challenge,” said John Fiset, SUPA associate director. “The challenge requires a great deal of extra out-of-class work in order to prepare for the competition. Students are willing to make the commitment because they really do enjoy the course and the competition. “
In the scenario given to teams, Vox, lead singer of fictional rock group Vanish, was found dead in his dressing room after a concert to celebrate the band being declared one of the top bands of the decade 2000-2010. Many people had motives to kill him, but it was up to the student teams to figure out the actual culprit by examining the clues.
An identical crime scene was set up for each team. Students first documented the scene, then moved on to testing the evidence. They had to be proficient in lifting and processing fingerprints; analyzing hairs and fibers; casting impressions of shoes, tire tracks, and tools; and blood typing, among many other skills.
High School Teacher and SUPA History 101-102 Instructor, Robert Cobb of Fryeburg Academy in Fryeburg, ME was recently selected as a Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction by the National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS). A role model to pupils, Robert was nominated by student Destiny A. Desroche ’12 for outstanding dedication and commitment to excellence in the classroom.
Student members of NSHSS have the opportunity to nominate the educator who made the most significant contribution to their academic career. The Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction award recognizes teacher role models who have made a lasting difference in their classroom by encouraging students to strive for excellence.
“Dedicated educators who exhibit a commitment to excellence deserve our highest praise and appreciation,” said NSHSS President James Lewis. ” We’re excited to provide ongoing means to do so, and we encourage our members to nominate teachers who have contributed to their academic success.”
On Sunday, Oct. 9, 2011, the Port Jervis School District is inducting into the Alumni Hall of Fame five graduates who have distinguished themselves in their careers or have positively impacted their community. Each fall, a new group of alumni is inducted into the Hall of Fame, and plaques with their photographs and biographies are placed on permanent display at Port Jervis High School. Among the inductees this year is Jerome Cohen, Class of ’44.
After graduating from Syracuse University and Brooklyn Law School, Cohen returned to Port Jervis, where his family had lived for 140 years, to start a private law practice. Jerome Cohen was the first elected full-time district attorney for Orange County, a position he held for 18 years, and was one of the area’s most prominent attorneys.
A staunch advocate for education, Cohen was responsible for bringing advanced college courses from his alma mater, Syracuse University, to Port Jervis High School in the 1970s. The Syracuse University Project Advance (SUPA), which allows high school students to reduce college expenses by earning college credits, has benefited countless Port Jervis graduates.
For more information on the induction ceremony click here.
By Jim Reilly
It’s a moment teachers dream about but rarely experience first hand—seeing the impact of their teaching on a student’s life.
For Donna Schwedfeger, a science teacher at Penfield High School in Rochester, NY, it came the day senior Mike Dressler told her he wanted to be a forensic scientist.
“My jaw hit the floor! I was kind of rattled, to tell you the truth,” Schwedfeger says. “Especially since I knew how strongly he wanted to be a dentist.”
It’s true he wanted to go into dentistry, Dressler says, but then he encountered Forensic Science (CHE 113), the Syracuse University (SU) course Schwedfeger teaches at Penfield through Syracuse University Project Advance (SUPA).
“That course changed my life,” says Dressler, who graduated in June. “Every unit, I got more and more interested in forensics. There’s always something more to learn, and it’s so cool that you can actually apply this in the real world.”
Dressler says he’s “a hands-on person,” one reason the blood typing and fingerprinting units were his favorites. In fact, he was so into the subject matter, he says he actually enjoyed his mid-term and final exams!
“You get to work as a real forensics team,” he says. “It feels so real, it doesn’t seem like you’re doing it for a grade. At the end, when you put everything together, you feel you really accomplished something.”
Schwedfeger, who also taught Dressler honors biology when he was a sophomore, describes him as a quiet, meticulous, straight-A student.
“He never complains and works really hard. I can see him being totally unflappable at the nastiest of crime scenes, or testifying in a courtroom, not being satisfied until things are just right,” she says.
Something that really struck her about Dressler is how seriously he took the responsibility of following evidence to reveal truth, which ultimately leads to justice.
“So many kids just want to learn how to pick apart CSI on TV,” she says. “But when we did our first crime scene, he said, ‘I have a responsibility to find out what really happened, and who the suspect is.’ It takes a fair amount of imagination to go that deep.”
Dressler was accepted at the University of Buffalo where he is currently studying biology for two years. He then wants to transfer to SU to study forensic science.
As for Schwedfeger, she says she’ll continue to take SU forensics classes online and as a long-distance commuter. “I’m a forensics nut, because of SUPA’s program.”
In fact, Schwedfeger says she wants to add a forensic odontology unit to her class for the fall. “I’m fascinated by bite marks,” she explains, “and how dental work is used for identifications at mass grave sites and disasters. The students should learn about this.”
Who knows? One day she might turn a would-be dentist into a forensic odontologist.
Student Mike Dressler, right, visits a lab at Syracuse University’s Center for Science and Technology during a tour Dressler was given of the campus in Summer 2011. Mike’s sister is standing with him.
By Jim Reilly
What did you do during summer vacation? Two Syracuse University Project Advance (SUPA) instructors have a pretty cool answer to that question.
Luis Martinez, a chemistry teacher at Secaucus High School in New Jersey, conducted experiments on drug and alcohol interactions in a lab at Syracuse University.
And Katherine Mittiga, a chemistry teacher at East Syracuse Minoa High School in Central New York developed a lab manual that will be used to conduct experiments in SUPA classrooms in New York State and beyond.
The two have been working with Prof. Michael Sponsler, a faculty liaison for the SU chemistry and forensics courses SUPA offers in high schools in six states and abroad. In recent years, SUPA has provided funding for two teachers to participate in Syracuse University’s (SU) Research Experience for Undergraduates, a program largely funded by the National Science Foundation, now in its 12th year at SU.
“It expands the scope of the program by bringing in people with very different perspectives,” Sponsler says. “Undergrads are working with PhDs and post-docs, but having a couple of high school teachers around gives them people with different experiences to talk to.”
It also gives teachers a chance to get back into the lab, contribute to current research, conduct experiments, write, earn graduate credit, learn new skills, and stretch their minds beyond the high school classroom.
“The whole experience has been awesome,” says Martinez, who is teaching SU forensics this fall. “This program has really reinvigorated my love for lab work. Plus, now I can say that I have legally worked with illegal drugs!” His students should get a kick out of that.
Martinez has been working with Sponsler and toxicologists Michael Hodgman and Michael Holland of Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY to determine how alcohol breaks down the protective coating of time-released morphine tablets.
“These are 90 milligram tablets, which is more morphine than the body can handle all at once,” Martinez says. If a heavy drinker takes a time-release morphine pill, the drug can be released quickly enough to cause an overdose.
This research could help forensic investigators determine the cause and time of death or contributing factors. Sponsler says it also may help emergency room doctors treat patients safely.
Safety is one of the things Mittiga focuses on when designing and testing experiments for the new chemistry lab manual SUPA instructors will use.
“I really want to make clear how students and teachers must dispose of materials safely in a high school lab,” says Mittiga. She is working with Sponsler and her mentor at ESM, Sally Mitchell, who teaches SU chemistry, to develop a series of labs that can serve as a foundation for all SUPA instructors teaching SU chemistry, no matter where they are or what sort of facilities they have.
“It’s something we’ve been talking about for years, now it’s moving along,” Sponsler says.
While SUPA teachers have a variety of sources for lab experiments, the manual will make the labs more consistent. “We’re hoping SUPA teachers will help us add to it,” Mittiga says. “We don’t want to stifle teachers’ creativity; we want to provide a nice, solid foundation that covers the basics.”
Both teachers say they will bring the ideas, skills, and enthusiasm they picked up during the summer into their classrooms this fall. Martinez even has pictures for show-and-tell. “I’ve been using my camera phone to shoot videos of what I’ve been doing,” he says. “I’m going to show my class the gas chromatograph and tell them how it’s like ones used on CSI.”
By Jim Reilly
For years, Syracuse University Project Advance (SUPA) has been helping high school seniors prepare for college by offering a variety of Syracuse University (SU) courses in high schools, including College Learning Strategies (CLS 105).
Now, SUPA is hoping to get students and teachers to think strategically about learning even earlier, by offering middle and high school teachers training in a Strategic Learning model during Project Advance’s annual Summer Institute.
“We realized that for kids to be ready to take college-level courses in their junior or senior year, we’ve got to introduce them to effective learning strategies even earlier,” says Rob Pusch, associate director for instructional services at Project Advance.
True college readiness rests on a foundation of knowledge, effort, and skill that takes time to build. “So now we’re offering this training for middle and high school teachers on how to incorporate learning strategies into classes they teach every day, across the curriculum,” says Pusch.
A two-day Strategic Learning workshop was offered as a pilot program in summer 2011 at SU. It will be expanded for Summer Institute 2012.
SUPA staff and Marlene Blumin, associate professor in SU’s School of Education and a former elementary and secondary school teacher and administrator, developed the workshop and materials, and Blumin taught the workshop at Summer Institute 2011.
Blumin, director of SU’s All-University Study Skills Program, teaches CLS 105 to SU students on campus during the school year; trains high school instructors during Summer Institute in how to teach the course to their students; and supervises instruction in the high schools as SUPA’s faculty liaison for the course.
The Strategic Learning workshop draws on ideas, techniques, and materials from CLS 105, adapting them for teachers and students in the earlier grades.
Subtitled “Learning Strategies that Facilitate Student Success,” it consists of five modules and a review. The modules cover time and task management; note-taking; reading skills; exam preparation and time management; and procrastination and motivation.
Each module presents a rationale for its content, specific strategies that can help students develop effective habits and skills—such as Target Planner and Fritter Finder techniques outlined in “Time and Task Management,” or the Jeopardy Strategy for note-taking—as well as discussion questions, tips for applying strategies, and a list of resources.
“We teach kids a lot in school, but we don’t teach them how to think for themselves, how to take notes, form a study group, or how to manage time and stress,” says SUPA graduate assistant Tiffany Squires, a former elementary school teacher and principal who worked on the Strategic Learning materials and sat in on the workshop this past summer. “Now we’re reaching out to middle school and high school teachers to empower their students to think and learn strategically.”
A farmers market held in the parking lot at Washingtonville High School in Washingtonville, NY began as a project in the Syracuse University Public Affairs class at the school. The class, offered through the school’s partnership with Syracuse University Project Advance, requires HS Seniors to identify a specific local societal need and develop a plan to address it.
Students Ross Busch, Emily Hripak and Sophia Warnon, all 2011 graduates of Washingtonville High School, decided Washingtonville could use a community event that would attract more people to the village. At the same time, they wanted a project that would also encourage a healthy lifestyle.
The new farmers market addresses three specific needs: It encourages more community involvement, it provides food alternatives to foster a healthy lifestyle, and it provides a venue for local vendors to display and sell their products. A sincere effort has been made to contact local producers to participate, and the market continues to welcome inquiries for additional vendors.
“In a time when young adults are often criticized for lack of interest and self-indulgence, Ross, Emily, and Sophia should be recognized for their desire and effort to improve the greater Washingtonville community,” the school notes on the market’s website.
Washingtonville Mayor Kevin Hudson, Village Clerk Christine Shenkman, and Building inspector Jeff Dolan, as well as School District officials Paul Nienstadt and Superintendent Roberta Greene have also been instrumental in bringing the farmers market to fruition.
Originally published, in a slightly different form, on www.washingtonvillefarmersmarket.com
Syracuse University Project Advance (SUPA) has been re-accredited by NACEP, the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships. Accreditation is awarded after a comprehensive peer review ensures a program meets or exceeds NACEP’s 17 national standards for program quality in the areas of curriculum, faculty, students, assessment, and program evaluation.
“Through NACEP’s rigorous accreditation peer-review process, Syracuse University has once again demonstrated that it integrates high quality, standards-based practices across its concurrent enrollment program,” says NACEP President Lynn Burbank. “As one of the initial cohort of programs to earn NACEP accreditation in 2004, we are pleased to award continued accreditation to Syracuse University Project Advance. Project Advance is one of the first four programs to earn continued accreditation from NACEP, and one of only 66 programs nationwide accredited by NACEP.”
NACEP is a professional organization for high school and college partnerships offering college courses in high schools. Now in its second decade, it has emerged as the national forum for concurrent enrollment. It supports members by providing standards of excellence, opportunities to network and share best practices, and access to information about research and national trends in dual and concurrent enrollment.
“Syracuse University Project Advance helped found NACEP because we believe strong standards indicate quality and excellence in student learning, teacher development and program evaluation,” says Jerry Edmonds, director of SUPA. “As one of the nation’s leading concurrent enrollment programs, SUPA continually strives not only to meet but to exceed the NACEP standards. We wholeheartedly support NACEP’s efforts to ensure quality and accountability for concurrent enrollment programs across the nation.”
By Jim Reilly
Barbara Heller was stunned when she was selected to be the first Syracuse University Project Advance Teacher of the Year, but her colleagues were not.
“I think you made a great choice. That’s why I wrote her a smashing letter. I’m very proud of her, and glad she won,” says Angela DeSantis, who has taught for 11 years alongside Heller at East Syracuse Minoa High School.
She and Kathy Southwell, Director of Teaching and Learning at ESM, say Heller is not only a superb teacher and role model for her students, but has motivated them to take learning beyond the classroom by engaging with real-world social, safety, environmental and other issues.
That’s one of the reasons Heller stood out among her peers.
“Within an exceptionally competitive field, Barbara Heller’s application stood out for her work with students beyond the classroom setting,” says John C. Fiset, SUPA associate director and liaison for public affairs, sociology and other SU courses. “Her work has evolved over the years to reflect the teaching skills necessary to move students into the 21st century. Her contributions to the SUPA program clearly indicate her commitment to concurrent enrollment education as practiced through the SU model.”
Several years ago, when students in Heller’s Public Affairs class (PAF 101) realized the school district had no policy on recycling and no recycling program, they investigated, met with officials from the Onondaga County Resource and Recovery Agency, developed a recycling policy and plan, and presented it to the school board. The board adopted the policy and implemented the plan, still in use at ESM today.
Students in a subsequent Public Affairs class worked with school administrators and the Manlius Police Department to bring “Alive at 25,” a nationally recognized safe-driving program, to ESM. Today, if students want to park at the school, they have to take the class first.
Heller’s students have worked on a number of other projects that have been implemented at the school or district level, including “Save the Rain” (rainwater recycling), “Signs for Safety” (signs and a crosswalk at a busy intersection near the school), and STUDY – Seniors Tutoring Underclassmen During the Year, a peer mentor/tutoring program.
“Barb has a real passion for this work. She clearly wants to actively engage students in really meaningful learning, and of course she does that,” says Donna DeSiato, ESM school superintendent. “It’s not just about learning something and demonstrating that I know it, but that I know how to apply it, and can apply it to something in real life that will have a positive impact on people. It’s about learning and research, but it’s also about improving the world around them.”
DeSiato says Heller serves as an inspiration and guide not only to her students, but to other educators as well.
“She has created this process and this strategy and developed these relationships where other teachers will be able to see there are ways you can create these meaningful learning experiences,” DeSiato says. “They have a great example of where to begin and how to go about it.”
DeSiato and others say one of the most important things Heller does is empower students and help them develop the skills – communication, leadership, collaboration, problem-solving, innovation, critical thinking, and persistence among them – they’ll need to succeed not only in school, but in life.
“She really stands out as someone who is creating student leadership and helping the kids learn that their voice can stand out, and that they can really make a difference,” says Kathy Southwell. She says Heller has been very involved with implementing the district’s new strategic plan for effective learning strategies.
Heller says she puts a lot of time and effort into her courses, but insists that her students do, too. “The kids take it upon themselves to work with me through April, May, June, after school and on weekends on these projects,” she says.
Heller is proud of the work her Public Affairs students have done and the changes they’ve sparked at ESM. But she worries this article, with all its talk about these projects, won’t reflect all the good work done by the students in her SU Sociology class. James DeAngelo, who teaches English at ESM, says he finds students in all of Heller’s classes bring “insightful questions and a practical perspective” to discussions in his classes.
Southwell says she’s not surprised Heller wants to focus on the work of all her students. “She’s very much about her students getting the limelight,” Southwell says. “It’s not about Barb, it’s about the kids. It’s not about the teaching, it’s all about the learning.”
And what is it Heller hopes students learn in her classes?
“That they can make a difference,” she says. “That it’s important to be part of the system, that their voices can and will be heard, and that their hard work can pay off. And that they need to keep plugging along, and be a part of things.”
Syracuse University Project Advance kicked off its annual Summer Institute training this week, which will bring 141 high school teachers from across the Northeast and abroad to the SU campus to be trained to teach SU courses in their home schools.
The three-week Summer Institute runs through July 15 with most of the teachers – 114 – on campus this week training to teach everything from Accounting to Web Design. Over the course of the three weeks, the teachers will participate in workshops for 24 different SU courses.
A total of 74 schools sent teachers to train with SU faculty this summer, from Al Khaleej National School in Dubai to Xaverian High School in Brooklyn N.Y.
Project Advance currently offers SU courses in more than 180 schools in New York, New Jersey, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Pennsylvania; schools from all six states are represented at Summer Institute this year.
For the first time, Summer Institute welcomes teachers from six Project Advance partner schools in Dubai: Al Khaleej National School; Cambridge International School; Dubai American Academy; Jumeirah College; The Westminster School; and Wellington International School. A total of 22 teachers from Dubai are here for Summer Institute 2011.
Teachers who successfully complete the Summer Institute training will be certified as adjunct instructors to teach the specific SU courses for which they trained.
By Jim Reilly
“Let learning take you around the world.”
That’s the message on a poster hanging on a bulletin board in Noreen Matthews’ classroom in West Islip High School on Long Island.
“It’s my mantra, my personal philosophy,” says Matthews, a social studies teacher and Syracuse University Project Advance instructor who teaches SU Sociology (SOC 101) at West Islip. “I encourage my students to get out there and go,” she says. “My one regret in college was that I didn’t study abroad.”
Schoolwork and swimming – she swam for St. Lawrence University – kept her tied close to home. “It was only Division III, but I was very dedicated.”
She’s made up for it in the years since, indulging her wanderlust during summers off from teaching by volunteering in countries around the world. In 2004, she worked at an orphanage in Russia; in 2005, she taught English at a primary school in Tanzania; in 2009, she taught English at a school in Brazil.
“I love to travel. And as a world history teacher, I take these opportunities to go out there and experience the things I teach about.”
Her most rewarding experience so far, she says, was teaching in a rural area of Tanzania, in East Africa.
“In Tanzania it’s an honor for them to go to school. So I’d have this roomful of 60 kids at one time, no electricity, dirt floors, but they were just so thrilled to be there. They see it as a privilege,” she says. The kids appreciated it, and so did the teacher: “I was there for a month, and I want to go back.”
But Tanzania will have to wait. This summer, Matthews has other plans, plans that will keep her busy for the 2011-12 school year: She’s going to teach in Scotland via the national Fulbright Classroom Teacher Exchange Program.
It’s an opportunity to travel, teach and learn that she almost gave up on.
“I started applying four years ago, but it’s a very competitive program,” Matthews explains. Thousands of teachers from around the country apply for the Fulbright each year, but only 50 are selected. This year, she was one of them. The Fulbright program seems designed for people like her.
“Noreen is a true traveler. She goes out to work and explore and to contribute,” says Andrew London, professor and chair of the Sociology Department in SU’s Maxwell School and SUPA’s faculty advisor for sociology. “She will grow and learn so much. She thrives on this, and she is also very generous, so she will share it with her students.”
She almost didn’t get to go.
“I was accepted two years ago, but they couldn’t find a match for me, so it didn’t happen,” Matthews says. Each Fulbright teacher must be matched with a qualified exchange teacher in another country who will come to the U.S. to take his or her place. “Last year, I didn’t apply,” Matthews said. “This year, I decided, ‘One more try,’ and I got it.”
So she’ll be going to teach history in a private school in Glasgow for a year. She goes to Washington, D.C. Aug. 1-5 to meet her exchange partner – Nikki Sutherland – as well as the other American teachers and those from the United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, India and Mexico who will be coming to the U.S. to teach.
Matthews, 33, will bring Nikki home to meet her parents, who are planning a welcome/farewell barbecue. She’ll show her the school, her classroom, and all the files and planners mapping out the American curriculum. She’ll introduce Nikki to her mentor teacher at West Islip. Finally, she’ll hand over the keys to her co-op.
“Nikki’s single also, so we’re just exchanging housing for the year,” Matthews says. She’ll live in Nikki’s Glasgow flat. Each will continue to pay her own bills. Each teacher’s home school district pays his or her salary during the exchange year.
Matthews flies off to Glasgow Aug. 9; school starts there Aug. 18.
“Their school year is 11 months – they start three weeks earlier, and go one week later, and they break it into trimesters. It’s the same number of schooldays, but instead of one long summer vacation, they get time off in October, January, February and April, too.”
She’s looking forward to the vacation breaks already.
“I’ll be doing some serious European traveling,” she says. “My parents are visiting in October, and we’re going to go down to Italy, maybe hit parts of the eastern Mediterranean. And, I want to ski in the Alps. I’m really going to take every opportunity while I’m over there.”
By Cynthia Moritz
Who killed rock ‘n’ roll star Sly Vox? Was it his ex-bandmate and ex-fiancée, Ivory Keyz? Fired security chief Hound Dawg? South American singer A. Capella, who accused Vox of stealing music and lyrics? Or was it one of the other numerous suspects whom Vox had angered over the years?
That is the question that teams of high school forensics students were charged to answer during the 11th annual CSI Challenge, put on by Forensics World at Stony Brook University on June 6. The winning team, from Riverhead High School, was composed of students in Kelly Evers’ SU Forensic Science class, offered through Project Advance, as were five other teams in the competition’s top 20.
“This is the fourth time we’ve participated in the challenge,” Evers said. “But it’s our first time winning.”
“We are very proud of the Project Advance sections of the SU Forensic Science classes that participated in the CSI challenge,” said John Fiset, Project Advance associate director. “The challenge requires a great deal of extra out-of-class work in order to prepare for the competition. Students are willing to make the commitment because they really do enjoy the course and the competition.”
In the scenario given to teams ahead of the competition, Vox, lead singer of fictional rock group Vanish, was found dead in his dressing room after a concert to celebrate the band being declared one of the top bands of the decade 2000-2010. Many people had motives to kill him, but it was up to the student teams to figure out the actual culprit by examining the clues.
An identical crime scene was set up for each team. Students first documented the scene, then moved on to testing the evidence. They had to be proficient in lifting and processing fingerprints; analyzing hairs and fibers; casting impressions of shoes, tire tracks and tools; and blood typing, among many other skills. Some of those skills were covered in the SU’s forensics course, while some were learned from online tutorials provided by Forensics World.
Each team also got to interview and interrogate a “suspect.” Actors in costume portrayed the suspects, and answered questions while trying to mislead and distract their questioners.
“The teams are graded on everything,” Evers said, from the plan for investigating the crime to their handling of evidence to their interviewing skills. They were also rated on their professionalism, including how they dressed and how they acted.
It is possible to come up with the wrong solution for the crime, Evers said, adding that she wasn’t sure how many teams solve it correctly. Her team did, but the answer was not obvious from the start. “My kids were disappointed that their interview subject was Hound Dawg, since he was one of the less obvious suspects, but he did it,” she said. “There were a lot of red herrings.”
Evers observed that some teams broke down under the stress of the competition. “It never happened to my team,” she said. She gave much credit to a very organized team leader.
The competition took an entire day. Was it worth it? Evers thinks it was. “Before we found out who won, we [she and her team members] were talking about it, and many of the kids thought it was the best thing they did in high school,” she said. It gave the students hands-on experience at using the tools they had learned about in the forensics class.
“To me, the most valuable aspect was the teamwork,” she said.
Forensics World aims to expand the CSI Challenge each year so that more students have the chance to learn and demonstrate forensic skills.
Syracuse University Project Advance congratulates all of the teams that took part in the 11th annual CSI Challenge, especially the ones representing SU’s Forensic Science classes. Those in the top 20 include:
Mary Patroulis, a Fayetteville-Manlius High School English teacher, has received the prestigious 2011 Dr. Ruth C. Everett Award from the New York State English Council (NYSEC). This award, named after a former NYSEC president and executive board member, honors one New York State teacher who has mentored future English Language Arts teachers in their student teaching or intern programs. Patroulis, a Syracuse University Project Advance instructor, teaches SU English and writing courses at F-M.
Patroulis was nominated for the award by F-M English teacher Tim Burns, who wrote the following in his nomination letter:
“Mary has been a role model for her students and her colleagues in her expertise in working with student teachers as a cooperating teacher and/or mentor. In her eight years at Fayetteville-Manlius High School, Mary has volunteered her time and energy to hosting several student teachers and even more student observers.”
Patroulis and other NYSEC award recipients will be honored in Albany at the NYSEC annual conference Oct. 19-21, 2011.
By Jim Reilly
When Kenneth Eastwood took over as superintendent of the Middletown, NY city school district in July 2004, he found himself in charge of an urban school system facing serious challenges. The numbers were daunting: a high school graduation rate of 52 percent; a student poverty rate of 73 percent; an attendance rate that put the high school in the bottom 10 percent statewide.
Both Eastwood, who received his Ph.D. from Syracuse University in 1990 and spent 14 years in administration in the Oswego school district before moving to Middletown; and Michael Gonzalez, who’s been executive principal since 2005, say the school has made a startling turnaround. While most students still come from low-income families – Gonzalez says 75 percent of 2,100 high school students qualify for free or reduced-price lunches – other numbers have climbed. Last year’s graduation rate was 87 percent; attendance is up over 90 percent. In 2004, only 56 of Middletown’s 500-plus graduates went on to four-year colleges or universities; in 2010, more than 200 did.
Both Eastwood and Gonzalez say the positive changes are the result of a determined effort in recent years to change the culture, expectations and performance at Middletown, a challenge embraced by the whole community.
“Everybody here did it. This was a dramatically deep community effort,” says Eastwood. “Teachers, staff, administrators, parents: Everyone was involved in turning this district around.”
The district started a stringed instrument program in the elementary schools to engage students early on, added a ninth period in high school so students can take more electives and earn more credits, and invested $9 million in smart boards, computers and other technology in recent years.
“We have a belief here: You can’t have high expectations for students without providing rich opportunities,” Eastwood says. Those rich opportunities include offering two Syracuse University courses – Introduction to Financial Accounting (ACC 151) and General Biology I and II (BIO 121-124/124) – through Syracuse University Project Advance.
“Since I’ve been here, one of the things we’ve done is increase the rigor of our courses, and one of the ways we’ve done that is through Syracuse University,” says Gonzalez. “What we have found is that if you raise the bar, the kids will respond.”
Taking actual college courses – and succeeding – gives students a tremendous boost in confidence, self-esteem and belief in their ability to compete academically. It raises their expectations of themselves, not to mention those of their parents, of where they can go and what they can do after high school.
“Taking these courses helps students develop valuable skills, but also the belief that they can compete with anybody else who is sitting in a college freshman class, and be successful,” Eastwood says. He also believes it makes a difference in how college recruiters look at Middletown students. “Recruiters want to see that students took a challenging, competitive program over their four years,” he says. “Our kids are now competing for admission to Syracuse, the Ivy Leagues – last year, we had kids get into MIT. We’ve had a dozen or so go to Ivy League schools. That’s the same as in a lot of the competitive suburban districts.”
Shawn Haener, who has taught SU’s introductory biology course at Middletown for a decade, says the students in his class are proud of the association with SU, and motivated to get a head start on their college education: They earn eight SU credits by successfully completing both semesters of the course, credits that in most cases will transfer to any college or university they attend. For some, the goal is SU itself.
“I’ve had a couple of kids apply to SU, just because they took this class,” says Anthony Parenti, who teaches accounting. “SU is a big name here. All the students follow SU basketball, football – mention SU, and they can fire off players’ names, numbers. When these kids saw that their name and their picture were on an ID card from Syracuse University, they were amazed.”
Twice a year visits from SUPA staff and SU faculty advisors help strengthen that connection, teachers and administrators say.
“When those guys are here, you can’t shut the kids up – they’ve got tons of questions. It’s about Mitch being a professor there at Syracuse,” Parenti says, speaking of a recent visit from Mitch Franklin, assistant professor in the Whitman School of Management at SU. “It was just nonstop questions about accounting, business, the school. The interaction is great, and the kids really have a good time with them. They’re not afraid to walk up and start a conversation. There’s a real flow of knowledge; the kids are looking to pick their brains.”
The connection, inspiration and flow of knowledge reach beyond the classroom, according to Principal Gonzalez.
“The teachers, Shawn and Mr. Parenti, they in turn are helping their colleagues by sharing new information about what’s going on in the universities, and in their fields,” Gonzalez says.
Parents, meanwhile, are thrilled their children are taking real college courses from a top-flight university at bargain prices: $110 per credit hour versus $1,580 per credit hour for on-campus SU freshmen.
“And if my teachers are happy, my kids are happy, and my parents are happy, then I’m happy,” Gonzalez says with a chuckle.
(L to R) Middletown HS’s Anthony Parenti and SU’s Mitch Franklin
The Syracuse Police Department recently worked with the forensic science class at Syracuse University Project Advance (SUPA) partner the Institute of Technology at Syracuse Central High School (ITC) in Syracuse, NY in preparation for the statewide SKILLS USA competition. Officer Thomas Glauberman of the SPD’s Crime Scene Unit division worked with Mrs. Ann Marie Furcinito’s forensic science class helping them to properly process crime scenes. Students were trained in fingerprinting techniques as well as proper crime scene methodology.
Three class members represented ITC at the state SKILLS USA competition held at the fairgrounds. The annual New York SKILLS USA state competition had over 2,000 high school students showing off their abilities. ITC senior Kayla Smith, along with juniors Radell Oliver and Aries Williams, worked together as a CSI (crime scene investigation) team. As part of their competition, the CSI team was required to pass written and field tests functioning as professional forensic investigators.
“These students are well trained in job skills and career readiness skills,” said Cheryl Winstel of the State Education Department regarding the SKILLS USA competitors. “They’re the best of the best competing across the state.”
“The fact that these kids are just 15 to 18 years old speaks volumes about them and their willingness to step up,” said Mary Kiernan, who oversaw some competitors. According to their teacher, Mrs. Furcinito, the CSI team “represented the best of their school by demonstrating both poise and professionalism. Furthermore, we could not have accomplished what we did without the help of the Syracuse Police Department.”
The students are enrolled in Syracuse University’s Forensic Science (CHE 113) class at the Institute of Technology. The course, offered in high schools through Syracuse University Project Advance, is focused on the application of scientific methods and techniques to criminal investigations and the law.
By Jim Reilly
Mitch Franklin, who teaches accounting at Syracuse University, likes to make connections and show people where numbers can lead them.
Franklin, accounting faculty liaison for Syracuse University Project Advance, recently took SUPA instructors on a field trip to New York City to meet with hiring managers and SU alumni at KPMG, one of the country’s “Big Four” accounting firms. He’s trying to forge connections between top accounting firms such as KPMG and SUPA’s high school classes similar to those between the firms and SU’s on-campus accounting program.
“We’re trying to let the teachers know about the opportunities out there, and get the kids introduced to the pipeline early on,” Franklin says. He wants teachers and students to be excited about where accounting can take them.
“I know, the accounting textbook, not so exciting,” Franklin says. “But once you get through this freshman material, once you’ve got a good foundation, accountants really do interesting things – things like merger and acquisition work, financial planning, forensic accounting. Students don’t see that, and a lot of high school teachers might not have the exposure to deliver that information.”
Hence a field trip to KPMG, an example of the professional development SUPA offers its high school instructors. It sounds like the message is getting through.
“I was so pumped up and excited after I left KPMG. I wish I was 20 years younger, because I really wanted to work at that place,” said Katie Petrie, an 18-year veteran business teacher who is in her first year teaching SU accounting (ACC 151) at Clinton High School. “I came back and told (my students) that it’s a very exciting place to work.” The kids ate it up, and spent hours investigating KPMG online.
Anthony Parenti, who worked as an accountant at a “small potatoes” accounting firm before going into teaching, said his impressions of KPMG – professionalism, prestige, global reach, accounts measured in the tens or hundreds of millions of dollars – let him give his students at Middletown High School a glimpse of “what they’re shooting for if they shoot for the top.”
“I thought the trip was a huge success,” says Franklin. “The teachers were interacting with recruiting managers and SU grads now working for KPMG – including former lacrosse superstar Mike Leveille – and walked away saying they really learned something, and with things they could bring back to their students.”
By Mark Hare (Rochester Democrat & Chronicle)
Even as a kid, Jim Nowak was a charmer, says his big sister, Nancy Rutherford of Brighton. He got away with all kinds of craziness, she says, because “you couldn’t stay mad at him.”
At 18 months, she says, Nowak decided to make himself scrambled eggs. It didn’t go well. Then there was the day he decided to “frost” his mother’s favorite velveteen chair with cold cream. Ditto. He was always full of life, and a joy to be with.
He was a giver, Rutherford says. And he always had more to share. He was killed in late January when the small truck he was driving in Kenya was hit by a larger vehicle. He was there working with the Building Futures Inc. organization (www.buildingfuturesinc.com) that he founded when he retired as a teacher at Fairport High School six years ago. He was inspired to start a project in Africa after watching a video by actor Will Smith.
He traveled first to Kenya with a former student, and then launched his own philanthropy, funded with his own savings and donations. One at a time, he built classrooms at the Mbaka Oromo Primary School, and had begun plans to add a health clinic before his death.
An Irondequoit native, Nowak was a 1969 graduate of Eastridge High School, where he was an outstanding student, a lacrosse player and Section V wrestling champion. He was an Eagle Scout (who later returned his Eagle badge to protest the Scouts’ ban on openly gay leaders).
He went to Cornell University where “a blue-collar kid from a small town met the world,” he says in a series of videos made several years ago for the university’s School of Applied Economics and Management. He went to Cornell to study engineering, but midway through his final semester he left college convinced there was more to the life he wanted to live. A year or so later, he returned, finished his degree and started a 30-year career as a social studies teacher at Fairport High School.
Fairport HS is a SUPA partner. Nowak taught Syracuse University sociology and College Learning Strategies courses through SUPA.
Aniksha Balamurugan, Alexandra McHale, and Taylor Trentadue, all juniors in Maria Zeitlin Trinkle’s Smithtown High School East Science Research Program, were selected as Semi-Finalists in the 2010-11 Young Epidemiology Scholars Competition. The YES Competition, sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and administered by the College Board, is designed to “spur students’ interest in the field of public health, specifically epidemiology which explores disease, illness, and injury within populations with the goal of developing methods for prevention, control, and treatment to improve health.”
According to Gaston Caperton, president of the College Board, “The YES Competition was developed to help students hone their skills in using research methods and critical thinking to identify new ideas that may help address some of the major public health issues we face today.” Over 562 projects from across the country were submitted and evaluated by epidemiologists from prominent universities and health organizations such as the CDC.
Aniksha Balamurugan’s project titled, “The Relationship between Music Listening Habits of Adolescents and the Risk of Noise-Induced Hearing Loss,” was an investigation into the incidence of tinnitus and hearing loss following the prolonged use of insert earphones among high school students. Alexandra McHale’s project titled, “The Relationship between Elevated Levels of Cell Phone Use and Increased Dependency on this Technology,” addresses the increasing behavioral dependence witnessed among high school students. Taylor Trentadue’s project titled, “The Correlation between the Frequency of Cell Phone Text Messaging and the Occurrence of Symptoms of Orthopedic Trauma to the Joints of the Hand,” also queried the involvement of teens with cell phones , but in terms of physical behavioral concerns.
All three projects were conducted “in-house” with Zeitlin Trinkle as the mentor. According to Zeitlin Trinkle, “All three projects showed a depth of investigation into real heath issues in the lives of adolescents. They each meticulously collected data which culminated in 30 page science research papers. These students have a wonderful work ethic and a keen eye for scientific investigation.” Each student will be awarded a $1000 college scholarship to be used at the college of their choice.
Back row (L to R): Smithtown East HS Principal Ed Thompson, teacher/mentor Maria Zeitlin Trinkle. Front Row (L to R): Aniksha Balamurugan, Alexandra McHale, and Taylor Trentadue
By Rasheed Oluwa (Bedford-Katonah Patch)
A group of Fox Lane High School seniors received a crash course in public affairs this year thanks to Syracuse University.
Students in the Syracuse University Project Advance public affairs class gave a presentation during the March 9 school board meeting on why the Bedford school district should consider installing central air conditioning in the high school building.
Project Advance is program hosted by Syracuse University that gives high school seniors the opportunity to take classes offered by the university.
The classes are taught by high school teachers who meet certain requirements stipulated by the university. This year’s public affairs course had an enrollment of 25 students. Students who complete the class earn three college course credits.
Mary Harrison, the district coordinator for social studies in grades 6-12 and the instructor of the public affairs course, said her students acted as a 25-person think tank tasked with finding a solution to a problem in the district. In this case, the problem was the lack of air conditioning in the high school.
“They chose a class president, Matt Karle, to lead them through the entire public policy,” Harrison said. “They identified problems, solutions and costs.”
Harrison said her students are well aware of some of the financial constraints the district is faced with and they were told to keep that in mind while conducting their research.
As part of their argument, the students played a news clip about the dangers of heat stroke. Senior Keith Chasen noted that in the video, it was stated that temperatures that exceed 103 are inadvisable and harmful. Chasen said it’s not out of the ordinary for the temperature has reached more than 100 degrees at the high school.
“Over 50 percent of the school at-risk population has some some sort of health complication such as asthma,” Chasen said. “Ms. Elizabeth Pezanowski, our high school nurse, has been quoted saying that kids come into the nurses office complaining of dizziness and headaches and migraines from the heat.”
Other arguments for air conditioning included:
- Better test scores.
- Better performances from students during the school’s summer programs.
- Teachers would have to spend less time dealing with loud fans during classes.
The presentation was also bolstered with quotes from teachers and staff members who support the installation of air conditioning in the building.
Miriam Hegglin, another senior, said students were and parents were also polled for their opinions. In the poll, about 38 percent from a group of randomly selected high school students said that they have gotten sick from the heat.
About 77 percent of the students polled also said that the heat has had an impact on the way they performed on state Regents examinations. About 95 percent of the students said they were in support of the school installing air conditioning.
A survey of about 100 parents in the district also showed that there was in interest. Ninety-two percent of the parents said that they were in support of the school installing air conditioning.
The survey also showed that 60 percent of the parents polled would support the installation even if taxes increased.
“Since they are paying for their kids to go to school, they think that their kids should be given a comfortable learning environment,” Hegglin said.
Although a cost estimate wasn’t given for how much the project would cost, rough costs have the project costing $2 million, according to senior Austin Appel.
Mark Betz, the assistant superintendent of business, said the district’s capital planning committee is well aware of the situation.
“We take seriously the concerns of the student learning and their ability to focus in the classrooms,” Betz said. “It will be out there as a conversation. It might be something that if we were to include in a capital project, we could separate it out.”
A video of the presentation can be seen here.
Syracuse University Project Advance (SUPA) anticipates going global in 2011, starting in the Middle East. Administrative team members Jerry Edmonds, Sari Signorelli, John Fiset and Chris Parish recently visited several Global Education Management (GEM) owned high schools in Dubai to assess their potential to offer of SU courses. Flagship Education, a Dubai-based company dedicated to bringing concurrent enrollment to high schools around the globe, hosted the visit.
SUPA would be the first program in the nation to bring university courses into high schools outside of the U.S. Initially the pilot program will run in select schools throughout the UAE, focused predominantly in Dubai, with potential expansion throughout the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey in subsequent years.
“The global expansion was a natural extension of SU’s commitment to serve the public good through academic excellence and engaging the world, “ said Jerry Edmonds, director of Project Advance.
Expanding globally not only brings SU courses into high schools outside of the U.S., but also brings teachers from around the globe to the Syracuse campus for the SUPA Summer Institute, where they will train to teach the SU courses. Teachers from the UK, India, Australia and other nations who currently teach in UAE high schools will join the U.S. teachers at this year’s Summer Institute, providing opportunities for exchanges of best practices from internationally recognized secondary curriculums, as well as forging international learning communities.
SU courses being offered to students in UAE include: biology, calculus, chemistry, economics, English/writing and psychology.
Syracuse University Project Advance staff members visit with biology students from the GEM World Academy in Dubai.
Basketball player Shannon Allan has been selected as Warwick Valley High School’s “Student Athlete of the Week” through the program sponsored by Allstate Insurance Bill Garcia Agency.
The senior basketball captain has been on the varsity since the end of her eighth grade year; this year, she is a key player in the Wildcats 5-1 start.
A standout soccer player in the fall, Shannon is one of the top returning female scholastic basketball players in the section. She was named Warwick Girls Basketball Tournament MVP this past weekend, scoring 35 points over two games. She is on her way to scoring 1,000 points in her career (she currently has 903).
The Wildcats are currently ranked first in Section 9 and this week broke into the state’s top 25 teams.
Shannon is an excellent student, carrying a 95.5 average and a class schedule that includes AP European History and the Syracuse University Project Advance (six credits). She has narrowed her college choices to Lynchburg College in Virginia and Elon College of North Carolina.
Shannon is the daughter of Kevin and Joanne Allan of Warwick. Shannon’s sister Bridget (Class of 2009) attends Skidmore College and her brother Brian is in the 10th grade.
Forensic science students from Syracuse University Project Advance (SUPA) partner the Institute of Technology at Syracuse Central High School (ITC) in Syracuse, NY got to experience first-hand solving crimes at the Rochester Museum and Science Center. They spent the day touring the exhibit CSI: The Experience and participating in several labs. Initially students were given information on one of three cases, and then were instructed to solve the case.
CSI: The Experience immerses students in a “crime” scene where they identify and record evidence. It takes them inside “laboratories” for scientific testing and to “autopsy” rooms for pathology analysis. Then it returns them to the “office” to build their case, based on the scientific evidence. The exhibit brings to life real scientific principles and the most advanced scientific techniques used today by crime scene investigators and forensic scientists.
From DNA and firearms analysis to forensic anthropology and toxicology, the ITC students engaged in hands-on science in an exciting multi-media environment with dazzling special effects direct from the CSI TV series. Cast members from the TV show welcomed the students into the exhibit from a large video monitor, lead them through the experience, and praised them for a job well done at the end.
Additionally, while at the museum; the students performed a fingerprint laboratory and extracted DNA from a banana.
According to their teacher, Ann Marie Furcinito, these students are enrolled in Syracuse University’s “Forensic Science” (CHE 113) class in their high school. The course is focused upon the application of scientific methods and techniques to crime and law. These students will receive 4 college credits at the completion of the course.
According to an ITC student, the field trip was “one of the highlights of my high school year.”
View the pictures here.
By Jim Reilly
When Memorial High School Principal Scott Cannao saw more affluent school districts in Bergen County and elsewhere in northern New Jersey offering college courses to students in their high schools, he thought: “Hey, why not us? Why not our kids?”
That led to discussions among Cannao, his administrators and faculty, and West New York School District Assistant Superintendent Robert Sanchez, which led to a team of Memorial teachers heading to Syracuse for training and a partnership with Syracuse University Project Advance, which brings Syracuse University courses into more than 180 high schools in six states, including New Jersey.
This fall 68 students registered to take one or more of eight Syracuse University courses at Memorial, all taught by Memorial teachers certified as SU adjuncts. If they pass, the students receive both high school and college credit.
Concurrent enrollment programs are a growing trend in U.S. high schools, enabling students to avoid “senioritis,” get a jump on college while adapting to its more challenging workload, and cut tuition costs: SUPA students pay roughly 10 percent of SU tuition per course. Some pay even less.
“That was the first question for our kids – financial aid – and Syracuse is great with that,” Cannao says. “They don’t want money to be an issue. If you qualify for free or reduced-price lunch (roughly 75 percent of Memorial students do), you get a discounted rate.”
At Memorial, the SUPA program is part of an ongoing effort by Cannao, Sanchez and others to change both the culture and the direction of the school.
“When I was there – I graduated in 1986 – Memorial was ranked as the No. 1 urban high school in the state,” says Sanchez who, like Cannao, is a West New York native and Memorial alum. Over time, the school’s ranking and image slipped, Sanchez says. The population changed, the school kept doing things the same way, and the number of college-bound graduates dropped from 70 or 80 percent in the 1980s to 35 to 40 percent today.
“We needed to make a change. We really wanted to make it a college-minded school,” says Sanchez, who spent four years as principal at Memorial before moving to his district post in July. “It’s the inner city. It’s important to give these kids goals to strive for and help them to succeed, and we wanted to give them the tools they needed to succeed. That’s why we jumped in with both feet and brought in so many (SU) courses this year: To get our students prepared, to get a jump on the game, to help them with their financial situation.”
Both he and Cannao say SUPA’s program fits well with other changes the school has made, such as mandating school uniforms and moving to a small learning academies model, where freshmen and sophomores stay with the same teachers their first two years, then move into more focused “career academies” as juniors and seniors. That’s when they get to take the SU courses.
“The kids are excited about it,” says Cannao. “We had a big parents meeting about it, and they all came, they were all excited. The place was packed. These parents are involved, because they want their kids to excel.”
There were some concerns. Money was a big one.
“Five out of our top 25 students last year couldn’t go to college because they couldn’t afford it,” Sanchez says.
There are other challenges: Many students come from single-parent households, many are poor, most speak English as a second language. Of the nearly 1,900 students at Memorial, Sanchez says, probably 90 percent speak Spanish at home.
Located across the Hudson River from New York City, between the Lincoln Tunnel and George Washington Bridge, West New York has always been a port of entry for immigrants: years ago from Italy and Ireland, more recently from Latin America. The community has always been poor, Sanchez says. What’s changed since his parents emigrated from Cuba in 1967 is the legal status of many residents. Back then, most had come to this country legally. Today, that’s not always the case. If you don’t have a Social Security card, you can’t apply for financial aid to go to college.
“Back then, a lot of kids got financial aid, and I was one of them,” Sanchez says. Financial aid enabled him and Cannao to go to Rutgers University. Early on at Rutgers, Cannao had an experience with another kind of difference between inner-city kids and those from more affluent, suburban school districts.
“I was in biology class, working away, taking my notes, struggling to keep up, and this kid sitting next to me, he’s from an affluent district, and he’s looking bored,” Cannao remembers. “I said something to him, and he says, ‘Ah, I did this stuff in high school.’ Right then, I knew these kids were different; they were more prepared.”
Now, he and others who call Memorial home and its students, teachers and staff family are working to see that students there are more prepared for the challenges of going to a four-year college or university.
“A lot of our students go to two-year colleges after graduation, but we’d like to see more of them go on to four-year schools,” says Matthew Riccelli, a Memorial grad who now teaches physics there. “We hope that giving them a taste of high-level courses and showing them that they can be successful, while they’re at home with teachers they have a rapport with, will give them the confidence to apply to a four-year school.”
Sanchez says it’s also “shock prevention” for when they get to college.
“Time and time again, we’ve had students come back, even our top-notch kids, to talk to the kids and teachers about college, and they say they can’t believe how much work it is, how challenging it is,” Sanchez says. “I think it’s important to get these kids used to what college will be like, while they are still in a small, supportive setting. Especially if they’re going to a big university, like Syracuse.”
Memorial brings SUPA’s New Jersey schools total to 14
Syracuse University Project Advance has a growing presence in New Jersey, northern New Jersey in particular.
New to the program this year is Memorial High School in West New York, which is offering eight Syracuse University courses as part of its curriculum: calculus, college learning strategies, two American history classes, Italian, sociology and English course and a writing course.
SUPA is currently working with 14 partner schools across New Jersey, from Memorial in the east to Stanhope’s Lenape Valley Regional High School in the west, and from Pascack Hills and Pascack Valley (in Montvale and Hillsdale, respectively) south to Red Bank and Rumson-Fair Haven on the Jersey Shore.
Founded in 1972, SUPA is a partnership linking Syracuse University with secondary schools, through which they offer qualified seniors the opportunity to enroll in SU courses for credit. SUPA serves more than 180 schools in six states: New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan and Rhode Island. Each year, more than 8,000 high school students take SU courses taught by about 175 local high school teachers certified as SU adjuncts.
Amityville Memorial High School has been recognized as a National Breakthrough School for 2011. It is one of 10 schools nationwide to be honored for its academic success by the MetLife Foundation/National Association of Secondary School Principals Breakthrough Schools program.
“Your personal dedication to the continual social, emotional, and academic success of our students is truly amazing,” Principal Scott J. Andrews wrote in a memo to Amityville Memorial’s staff and faculty. “Your focus on high school best practices has led to this recognition.”
Established in 2007, the MetLife Foundation-NASSP Breakthrough Schools program recognizes middle-level and high schools that are high-achieving or are dramatically improving student achievement, while at the same time serving large numbers of students living in poverty. “These 10 MetLife Foundation-NASSP Breakthrough Schools have made incredible gains in academic achievement by providing rigorous instruction and personalizing their schools to meet the needs of each and every student,” said NASSP Executive Director Gerald N. Tirozzi.
Amityville Memorial has given its students the opportunity to take Syracuse University courses for a number of years through Syracuse University Project Advance. During the current school year, its students are taking Sociology, Calculus and Forensic Science classes. Memorial teachers accredited as SU adjunct faculty teach the classes in the high school.
By Danielle Waugh
It was the first day of class. One by one, students began introducing their name, year and major.
They were a diverse class, with majors ranging from biology to musical theater. But among them, one major stood out:
“My name is Monroe Guisbond. I’m 86 years old, and I’m majoring in life.”
A downhill skier for his “whole adult life,” Guisbond realized he had to give up that hobby when he turned 80.
“That was difficult for me,” Guisbond said. “So now my focus is on learning.”
A Class Experiment
This intergenerational course is what Thompson would call an “experiment.”
The elderly students are members of the Syracuse chapter of Oasis, a national nonprofit organization that offers adult education courses and volunteer opportunities to people 50 years and older.
From yoga to computer science, Oasis members enroll in different courses throughout the year. The cost varies from $7 for a one-time presentation to $65 for a series of courses.
The Syracuse chapter alone has more than 8,000 members, with 1,200 paying for classes.
From San Diego to Syracuse, Oasis has 27 chapters across the U.S. Since the organization began in 1982, the courses have been for the elderly only.
But that changed two years ago. When Thompson was preparing to teach a course on the 2008 election and new media, she had an idea.
She had given lectures to Oasis members, “and there were people there who really wanted to learn about new media,” Thompson said.
“The older generation had more knowledge about politics,” she said, “and the younger students had the more technical knowledge, so I thought, ‘Let’s bring them together and see what happens.’”
That course was the first intergenerational class Oasis had offered. This semester, Thompson decided to try it again.
“I knew it was a more rigorous course and not just, ‘Oh, let’s give the old people something to do,” 69-year-old Eric Merson said.
Thompson wants the two groups to learn from each other as much as they learn from her. She encourages the young and old to sit side-by-side and participate in group discussions.
But one group appears to be dominating the class.
“The SU people need to step up,” 79-year-old David Ashley said. “The old guys like me, I don’t mind dominating the conversation. I think the students may be a little intimidated by some of the oldsters,” he laughed.
Katherine DiVita, a junior majoring in public relations, thinks Ashley is right.
“At first, I was intimidated because they have so much more experience and knowledge than we do, but I got more comfortable the more classes we had,” DiVita said.
She’s finding that their presence is putting things into perspective.
“So many times in college classes, we don’t see the bigger picture — why we’re here, what we’re doing with our education,” DiVita said. “In a class like this, you see older people who have gone through the things we’re going through now. It puts everything into context.”
For some students, having class with the elderly was the reason they signed up.
Rebecca Shabad, a senior broadcast journalism and political science major, took the 2008 Election and New Media course with Thompson and members of Oasis in 2008.
“I looked forward to going to that class every week,” Shabad said. “There was this back-and-forth dialogue … and [Oasis members] talked to us about history, and we got that first-person perspective.”
Shabad said the perspective of Oasis members helped her decide whom to vote for in the 2008 presidential election.
When she read that the Religion and American Politics course was also intergenerational, she immediately signed up.
The changing perspective goes both ways.
Both Shabad and Thompson shared a story about an Oasis member in the 2008 course who expressed his reservations about same-sex marriage during a discussion about Proposition 8, the California ballot initiative designed to restrict marriage to a man and a woman.
Their classmate, who they did not want to identify, told the class he had a gay son and was struggling to accept his lifestyle.
“It was pretty heavy,” Shabad said.
Thompson agreed, but said the discussion ended up being “remarkable.”
“I think the fact that [the Oasis member] saw a group of young people that was very diverse — with Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives — almost all of whom were very accepting of same-sex relationships, made him feel better about the life of his own child,” Thompson said.
“It opened his eyes,” she said, “and he was able to find people who were supportive and sympathetic.”
Healthy Minds & Bodies
When 78-year-old Dee Fabbioli leaves class each week, she feels “energized.”
“I’ve noticed [the undergraduates'] enthusiasm is contagious,” she said.
Fabbioli may be experiencing what doctors say is a connection between a healthy mind and a healthy body.
Dr. Sharon Brangman, chief of geratrics at Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, said those with better physical fitness often have sharper memories.
“We somehow used to think that the brain was a whole separate part of the body … but now we know that it’s vitally connected and anything you do to keep your body healthy also keeps your brain healthy,” Brangman said.
But does it go both ways?
“I’m not sure, because it’s all connected,” she said. “It’s like the chicken or the egg.”
The senior citizens from Syracuse Oasis are not the only members of their generation who choose college courses as part of their retirement.
At 80 years old, Dr. Irwin Mindell thinks he’s just as alert now as when he was 30.
“I’m a compulsive learner,” Mindell said. “I’m a perennial student.”
Mindell audits classes two times a week at Hunter College in New York City. He still practices dentistry once a week in midtown Manhattan — that is, when he’s not studying British literature and anthropology.
This is his second semester at Hunter and he lives by the motto, “the mind is stretched by a new idea and never goes back to its original shape.”
“I truly believe the brain is like a muscle and if you don’t exercise it, it atrophies,” he said.
Brangman thinks having someone like Mindell in a classroom not only can bring new perspectives, but also shatter stereotypes.
“We have a stereotype of aging activities, and that’s playing shuffleboard or bingo or making crafts out of popsicle sticks,” Brangman said. “But there’s really no need to suddenly change the way we’ve been active and involved our whole lives just because you’ve gotten older.”
Mindell says he’s proof that it’s true: “Last week, I had to do a presentation on Singapore — and I aced it.”
ABCNews.com contributor Danielle Waugh is a member of the ABC News on Campus bureau in Syracuse, N.Y.
By Jim Reilly
Flies and maggots, “well-rotten corpses” and fungal blooms on a bloody carpet are not your typical lunch-chat fare. But these and other fascinating if disturbing topics were on the menu at Syracuse University Project Advance’s fall Forensic Science Seminars.
Patricia Wiltshire and David Hawksworth, married scientists who together set the standard for the blossoming field of forensic mycology in their native UK and around the world, spoke to SUPA teachers downstate (Oct. 13) and upstate (Oct. 15) to give them news from the crime science frontier to bring back to the classroom.
In Syracuse Wiltshire, a petite, old-school botanist who’s developed a big reputation as Britain’s foremost forensic ecologist, entertained the audience with tales of schoolgirl murders, chopped-up bodies and the baby in the concrete block. She did it in an engaging, matter-of-fact style peppered with humor and assorted Brit-isms such as “jolly well,” “come a cropper” and “fortnight.”
Not that she spoke callously or without empathy for individual victims. You could hear the emotion in her voice when she told of the “bonnie baby” found in a bag in a culvert. It’s just that after consulting on more than 250 often-grisly cases, including some of Britain’s most notorious murders, she’s developed a certain off-hand familiarity with the glop, gore and gruesome evidence that are her stock in trade.
“You’ve got to have a strong stomach if you want to do this kind of work,” she said. “And, you’ve got to be sure of your science.”
Wiltshire and Hawksworth are, first and foremost, scientists, not cops or action heroes or fashion plates.
“TV presents some awful rubbish,” Wiltshire said of the “CSI” series and other shows that glamorize crime scene investigators. “The nails and the hair and the clothes – Oh, it just makes my blood boil.”
Tyna Gaylord, who teaches SU’s Forensic Science course to juniors and seniors in the Indian River Central School District, says she immediately disabuses students of notions that forensic science is glamorous or glitzy.
“I tell them, ‘This is not Hollywood, and we’re not solving anything in 40 minutes,’ ” Gaylord said. What she loved about SUPA’s forensics seminar is that it would enable her to bring her students great stories about real, cutting-edge science.
“This stuff is definitely not in the textbooks,” Gaylord said, “because those textbooks haven’t been written yet.”
Wiltshire and Hawksworth are gathering the data, developing the techniques and collecting the stories for those books day by day.
Wiltshire told how bits of snail shell stuck in a car’s tire, or pollen lodged in someone’s sneakers, can reveal where those things have been, and when.
“With enough bits of evidence, a lot of experience with landscapes, and a bit of imagination, you can envision the place, the ecosystem, where someone was killed, or where someone might be buried,” Wiltshire said. And while she has visited hundreds of crime scenes, hopefully before others have tromped on the plants, soil, spores and seeds – “Policemen have very big feet” – Wiltshire has amazed investigators by directing them to a body or a murder site without leaving her study, just by analyzing evidence and describing the environment from which it had come.
Hawksworth, meanwhile, helped prosecutors link four men to a gangland killing by connecting spores and fungal evidence collected from an oak tree, an ailing cypress hedge, the getaway car and the gunman’s shoe. The four were convicted of murder, and there was not a trace of gunshot residue, fingerprints or DNA anywhere in sight.
“A few pollen grains can give you lots and lots of information,” said Wiltshire. “They can tell you where things have been.” And pollen is very, very sticky. “It’s quite difficult to get off, really,” Wiltshire said. “All of you’ve got it on you today.”
Annette Sebuyira, who teaches SU forensics and high school chemistry in Guilderland, couldn’t wait to get back into her classroom after the seminar.
“You guys have no idea what’s out there,” she wanted to tell her students. She already had an idea for a project: fungi biographies. “I’ll have each student pick a fungi and sell it to me,” she said.
Kim Bradshaw, who loved botany and field mycology as a student at SUNY Cortland, realized she’d suddenly found the hook she needs to pull her Penfield High School biology students into the world of plants, which they often find boring.
“Botany’s always been my thing, but to see it applied to forensics – I can’t believe I never thought of using plants to solve crimes,” Bradshaw said. “I’ll create a crime-scene scenario, and have the kids solve the crime as they’re learning about plants.” She called it her “brainstorm of the day.”
Together, Wiltshire and Hawksworth left seminar participants with many things to ponder, including:
“How long has a plastic bag with a human leg been deposited?”
“A tooth can tell you where someone was born; a femur where he or she has been in the past 10 years; a hair, the last fortnight.”
“If there are earthworms in the soil, everything gets buried eventually.”
“It’s very difficult to burn a body. You haven’t tried, of course, but we have. And it’s not easy, I can tell you.”
And, finally, a closer from Wiltshire: “Cellars are good for burying things. So are gardens. And if you have a new patio, well, that’s the place to put your wife.”
By Jim Reilly
Syracuse University Project Advance (SUPA) brings two of Europe’s foremost forensic botanists to the U.S. this week for SUPA’s Forensic Science fall seminars. Patricia Wiltshire and David Hawksworth will be the featured speakers at the downstate seminar Wednesday (Oct. 13) on Long Island and at the upstate seminar Friday (Oct. 15) at Drumlin’s Country Club in Syracuse.
The professional development seminars are offered free of charge to SUPA faculty currently teaching Syracuse University’s Forensic Science (CHE 113) class in their high schools.
Wiltshire and Hawksworth also will speak about “the curious connections between fungi and criminal investigations” at a public lecture at 7 p.m. Thursday (Oct. 14) in Room 001 of the Life Sciences Complex on the SU campus. This talk is co-sponsored by SU’s Dialogues in Forensic Science program. SUPA teachers are invited to bring their students to Thursday’s talk.
“Patricia and David have done the seminal work to define the emerging field of forensic botany and mycology,” said chemist James T. Spencer, Meredith Professor and associate dean for science, mathematics and research in SU’s College of Arts and Sciences. “Their expertise spans traditional biological disciplines into areas of application to the world of criminal investigations.”
Wiltshire, of the University of Aberdeen, has worked on more than 200 cases, including some of Britain’s most notorious murders, such as the Soham schoolgirl murders and the Ipswich prostitute murders. Her specialty is palynology, the study of plant pollen. Hawksworth, of the University of Gloucestershire, is a prolific author who specializes in the ecology of fungi, particularly those forming lichens.
In an article published this summer in Forensic Science International the two, who are married, detailed how molds, mushrooms and other fungi can provide valuable evidence of location, time of death, cause of death and other key details of a crime.
“I would like to show how ecology and botany have helped in many aspects of criminal investigation and, more specifically, the role of palynological analysis,” Wiltshire said of her presentation. She and Hawksworth plan to share case studies to demonstrate both the benefits and challenges of the evolving discipline of forensic mycology.
By Kelly Homan Rodoski
Jason R. Wiles, assistant professor of biology in Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences, has received the 2010 Science and Technology Outreach Award from the Technology Alliance of Central New York (TACNY). Wiles received the award at TACNY’s 12th annual Celebration of Technology Banquet on Sept. 20 at the Holiday Inn and Conference Center in Liverpool.
For over a century, TACNY has been a key link among regional technical societies, working to enhance and facilitate the development, growth and advancement of education, awareness and historical appreciation of technology within the Central New York community. The organization presents the Science and Technology Outreach Award annually to a resident of Central New York who has increased interest in science or technology or expanded opportunities for people with limited access to science or technology.
“The need to reach out to future technologists and promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics is of critical importance to ensure an adequate number of people entering those fields. The Technology Alliance of Central New York created the science and technology outreach award to ensure those actively involved in sharing our enthusiasm are recognized,” says TACNY President Howie Hollander. “I attended Professor Jason Wiles’ TACNY Junior Cafe Scientifique presentation last year and personally witnessed how he engaged the students–and parents–attending the program. Dr. Wiles’ efforts to increase public engagement in science are notable and worthy of our recognition.”
In addition to his position in the Department of Biology, Wiles also holds an appointment in the Department of Science Teaching. His research centers on key issues in biology education at all academic levels and in a variety of international contexts. He teaches a number of courses in the biological sciences, including the general biology sequence, which enrolls between 700 and 800 students every year.
Wiles is also involved with the Project Advance program, through which public school teachers receive professional development in support of the transfer of college-level curricula to talented high school students. These and other endeavors in research and both formal and informal education are part of Wiles’ ongoing efforts toward increasing the public understanding of science.
Nearly 30 eligible juniors and seniors participating in the program will have the opportunity to earn collegiate credit at a number of higher learning institutions, including Syracuse University, Regis College, UMass-Boston and Quincy College; several AWHS courses will be taught using collegiate syllabi and students enrolled in one or more of those courses will be offered the option of taking those courses toward high school graduation and for collegiate credit.
“What a wonderful opportunity for our students,” said Mary Lou Sadowski, principal of AWHS. “As a college preparatory school, we emphasize learning and skills to achieve success; earning college credit while taking high school classes is not only a great learning experience, but also a chance for future savings once in college.”
Colleges participating in the dual enrollment program will charge a fee for credits earned; however according to school officials the fee is a fraction of what the credits would cost if earned as a college freshman.
Archbishop Williams’ foreign language teacher, Diane Jackson, hosted an informational session this summer for students who are enrolled in her Syracuse University courses in French. More than 30 excited parents and students attended to gather information regarding the courses.
Jackson participated in training this summer at Syracuse to become an adjunct instructor in order to teach college level French 102 and French 201. She will teach two courses according to the criteria and expectations of Syracuse University and will be evaluated twice during the academic year by the French liaison at Syracuse, Dr. Constance Dickey, and the SUPA (Syracuse University Project Advance) director, William Newell.
“Despite all the work and preparation, I am so excited to be able to offer these courses to my students at AWHS,” Jackson said. “What a wonderful opportunity for them. They will be able to receive four university credits for each course they successfully complete and could graduate with eight university credits by the end of their senior year. We are the only high school in Massachusetts to offer the Syracuse University courses to our students.”
“In keeping with our commitment to offer a challenging college preparatory program for our students, the dual enrollment initiative allows students to experience college level courses within the high school environment,” said Jane Funderburk, Assistant Principal at AWHS. “The benefits to our students are numerous and this endeavor brings the level of challenge and vigor that already exists in our AP program to electives and core requirements across the disciplines.”
“I have always felt that Archbishop Williams does more than just prepare our students for college courses; I have felt that we offer our students college courses and now four colleges agree with me,” said Dr. Carmen Mariano, president and a graduate of AWHS. “The academic rigor, expectations and content of a number of our high school courses are being recognized by four outstanding institutions at the collegiate level and I could not be more proud.”
By Brad Kallet
Donna DeSiato does not have much time to put her feet up and relax. The superintendent of the East Syracuse-Minoa Central School District in Onondaga County, N.Y., oversees seven schools encompassing approximately 3,635 students from pre-kindergarten through high school.
Still, she makes time to help her students make a difference in the community.
Ever since taking over as superintendent in 2005, DeSiato has played a significant role in assisting with the development of her high school’s partnership with Syracuse University Project Advance (SUPA).
Her efforts have led to the enhancement of SU’s Public Affairs (PAF 101) course.
The public policy course centers on an assignment in which students choose a societal issue that negatively affects their local community. Once an issue is selected, students spend the semester identifying and seeking out local difference makers—also known as “players”—in an effort to initiate change.
DeSiato, who received her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from SU in 2004, is a major proponent of the assignment. Her experience and influence have been crucial in providing unique opportunities for her students.
“Within the community, I certainly use the examples of our students,” said DeSiato. “I promote our students and showcase their work. I believe that the course should connect the application to the real world.”
Barbara Heller teaches the PAF 101 course at ESM’s Central High School, and uses
One year, students taking Heller’s course wanted to design and implement a recycling program within the district. DeSiato was very impressed with the idea, but knew the students couldn’t reach their goal without the help of an ally with connections. To that end, the superintendent herself advised these students throughout the semester and introduced them to various influential players who could be of assistance. In March of that year, the students’ policy was approved by the board of education; it was put into effect for the following school year.
It’s an extra responsibility that the busy DeSiato certainly doesn’t need to assume. But she understands and appreciates the kind of impact she can have, and is eager to provide both her vast expertise and limited time.
“For a student to do a policy proposal, there is a lot of complex information,” said Syracuse University Professor William Coplin, who has worked extensively with DeSiato. “And to have somebody who is a knowledgeable player – an expert – to be an advisor, that is a valuable source of information for the students.”
The public affairs course isn’t the only sector of SUPA in which DeSiato has made her presence felt. Her contributions extend far beyond Heller’s classroom.
DeSiato currently oversees five SU courses offered through Project Advance in her district. She has advocated for SUPA at advisory board meetings and has given workshops regarding her involvement with the program in both upstate New York and in New York City.
Her involvement with SUPA goes even deeper than that.
Coplin, who thinks very highly of DeSiato, has asked her on numerous occasions to speak with his students at the university level in addition to some of the professors who instruct the PAF 101 course at Syracuse University.
SUPA Associate Director John Fiset works with a wide array of teachers and administrators at the high school level, but is quick to point out that having somebody of DeSiato’s stature in SUPA’s corner is immensely beneficial.
And he stresses that she is not merely a figurehead, but a committed party who will go the extra mile to work with SUPA and use it to her students’ advantage.
“The person at the top sets the tone,” said Fiset. “She supports concurrent enrollment and understands the importance of giving high school students a head start on college while they are still in high school.”
DeSiato has done a lot for SUPA in her five years as superintendent. If she chose, she could easily take a step back and be satisfied with what she has accomplished.
But don’t expect her to slow down anytime soon.
“We will continue to encourage the integration of 21st century skills and relevant application into the real world,” said DeSiato. “We want our students to learn how to be a part of the change process, and how this can apply to improving our world.”
By Brad Kallet
Alex Geroux wanted to make her final project original, yet meaningful. As a senior at Glens Falls High School, located in Glens Falls, NY, Geroux didn’t want to create something ordinary that would merely get overlooked.
She wanted to produce something unique; something that would catch the eye of her audience.
This chance was given to her by Elizabeth Strader, Glens Falls High School instructor for SU’s Sociology 101 course, offered through the high school’s partnership with Syracuse University Project Advance (SUPA).
In Strader’s class, the evaluation of her students comes via the Anything Project, an open-ended assignment that requires students to present a sociological issue in an innovative fashion. It requires extensive research and students must demonstrate strong critical thinking skills.
Though this philosophy may seem rudimentary and broad to an outsider, Strader recalls her 10-year-old assignment bringing out the most in her students.
“Students are encouraged to be as creative as possible,” said Strader. “And they have to prove to me that they learned something from the course.”
Julia Bracken, a recently graduated senior at Glens Falls High, focused on the abuse of prescription medicines in her Anything Project. Though she had to sort through hours of research, she ultimately found the experience to be extremely rewarding.
“I really enjoyed this project because it allowed everyone to research a topic that they were really interested in, and to show what they learned in a way that was unique to them,” said Bracken. “It allowed you to really get involved in a topic and think about it abstractly without the regulations and rules that most high school projects have.”
Of the many terrific projects that have passed through Strader’s class, the most noteworthy may be that of Geroux.
Geroux, now a sophomore at SUNY Potsdam, decided to alter “Life,” the classic board game. Her version, entitled “Real Life: The Game of Social Inequality,” focuses on social, economic, racial and gender inequalities that persist in today’s society. Geroux used the original game as a template, but completely changed the content of the board and the cards. For example, instead of player salary being determined by categories such as “college” and “career path,” Geroux designed players to be identified by their race, gender and socioeconomic class.
Strader continues to showcase Geroux’s masterpiece to her classes, but is proud to say that her students’ projects consistently impress. This past year’s collection of assignments offered a wide variety of designs spanning a myriad of topics.
Charlotte Guillet, a recently graduated senior headed for McGill University in the fall, focused on how the media fails to portray society in a fair manner. To illustrate her point, Guillet made a collage contrasting what is real with what the media wants us to believe is “normal.” Her collage consisted of various pictures on a box (signifying a TV set), all of which represent an idealistic society. Throughout her presentation, Guillet gradually uncovered the pictures and revealed the true aspects of society.
One of Guillet’s classmates, Kelsey Sabo, focused her project on stereotypes and corruptness within the Walt Disney Company. The class had studied Disney earlier in the year, and Sabo used this opportunity to further her knowledge of this controversial issue. Unlike Geroux and Guillet, Sabo produced and edited her own video to defend her viewpoint.
Over the last decade, Strader has seen firsthand the vast possibilities that her Anything Project offers to her students and it serves as a reminder that an open-ended assignment can, and often does, turn into something truly remarkable.
“The Anything Project was something new for a student who is used to taking honors, AP and college courses,” Sabo said. “Usually teachers stick to a very outlined syllabus and class schedule from the first day to the last. This was one of the first times in high school that I was actually allowed to do anything I wanted, and it was an eye-opening experience.”
Taylor Medwig, a sophomore at Smithtown High School East, won first place in ASHG’s (American Society of Human Genetics) National DNA Day Essay Contest for the essay she submitted in response to the following question: “Scientists can now determine the complete DNA sequences of organisms, including humans. Now that this milestone has been reached, is there a reason to continue learning about Mendel, alleles, and inheritance patterns?”
In her prize-winning essay, Medwig explained the idea that, “Determining the sequence of nucleotides [in DNA] is not useful in analyzing the behavior of alleles and the relationships among them, which require background knowledge in Mendelian genetics.”
“The content of Taylor’s essay indicated that she clearly understands that advanced genetic technologies, such as those arising from the Human Genome Project, are only beneficial when applied together with more fundamental genetics concepts,” said ASHG Education Director Dr. Michael Dougherty, in describing why the ASHG judges selected her essay as the top contest entry.
Taylor Medwig will be awarded $400 in recognition of her accomplishment as a first-place prize winner in this year’s National DNA Day Essay Contest. In addition, Medwig’s science teacher, Maria Zeitlin Trinkle, will receive a $2,000 check from ASHG to purchase new laboratory equipment for the science classrooms at Smithtown High School East. Two additional students in Ms. Trinkle’s class made it to the final round of judging. Alexandra McHale and Emily Shea, both sophomores at Smithtown East, received Honorable Mention recognition.
“ASHG’s annual DNA Day Essay Contest is an educational initiative that brings students and their teachers together with some of the best geneticists in the world,” said Joann Boughman, Ph.D., Executive Vice President of ASHG. “Our organization coordinates the essay contest and other educational activities because, as the largest society for human genetics professionals, we feel that it is important for us to raise awareness about the value of genetics education and research. ASHG is also committed to sharing a broader understanding of human genetics by reaching out to students in science classrooms around the world, in an effort to increase their excitement about – and interest in – the field.”
By Roberta Van Anda
Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School is pleased to announce that this year’s Teacher of the Year is Mr. Robert Galante. A graduate of Franklin and Marshall College, where he majored in both Government and French, Mr. Galante began teaching American History and French at the Rumson Elementary School District after he earned a Masters of Arts in Social Studies Methods and Practice from Fairleigh Dickinson University in 1988. He was honored as Teacher of the Year at Forrestdale School in 1996.
Mr. Galante began teaching at RFHRHS in 2003 and has become a highly respected member of the Social Studies Department. He also teaches French courses and Syracuse University Project Advance College History. In 1990, he was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Scholarship to study the Philosophy of the Constitution at UCLA, and, in 1996, he again received a National Endowment for the Humanities Scholarship to study the Federalists and Anti-Federalists at Rutgers University.
His teaching is enhanced by his creative methods that allow students to learn as they experience areas of history. An annual event in Mr. Galante’s American History I class is a re-creation of the Trial of Simeon Bushnell, in which students examine the question of whether it is right to break the law if one does it for a higher purpose. Students re-enact the trial of a man who broke the Fugitive Slave Act to help a slave escape from jail in Oberlin, Ohio in 1858. This year, his class worked together with the AP Music Songwriting class of Mr. Bill Grillo to reveal the hardships of frontier life through a study of pioneer songs. Another unit explored the songs of the Civil War as a window into the life of Americans during that era.
Mr. Galante’s extracurricular activities have been curriculum related and have provided incomparable experiences for students. For several years, he ran the Model UN Program and took his team to competitions at the United Nations in New York City. This year, he was Faculty Advisor for the Mock Trial Team, which takes part in a statewide competition for high school students who have an interest in law careers. He is also a member of the Superintendent’s Faculty Advisory Council, which meets monthly. At this year’s Enviropalooza, he played blues harmonica with the Federalists, a student band.
In recommending Mr. Galante for this award, Mr. Tom Larkin of the RFHRHS World Languages Department said, “Mr. Galante’s enthusiasm for his subject matter is insatiable, and he relays his opinions and facts to his students with precision and accuracy.”
A parent who has watched three daughters excel in Mr. Galante’s classes wrote a letter praising Mr. Galante and nominating him to become Teacher of the Year. Charles P. Hopkins said, “Mr. Galante’s excellent style of teaching is exemplary, and a large part of the success that my daughters have earned in college was based on the foundations of their education at RFH. It is my hope that my fourth daughter will also have the privilege of studying history in his classes.”
RFHRHS Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Peter Righi feels that Mr. Galante epitomizes the qualities of an educator. “His passion for his subject is second only to his desire to motivate students to become life-long learners. Mr. G is himself a lifelong learner and one of the most honorable people I’ve ever met. His students are blessed to have the opportunity to have him as their teacher.”
Mr. Galante has his own philosophy of teaching. “The young people that I work with are among the greatest joys of my life. I work with them, not by directing them with words, but by setting the example with action. I want my young people to come with me, through the great triumphs of the American Republic, through our sad and shameful chapters too, because the promise of America lives in them. I want them to work hard because they see their teacher working hard. I want them to love American history, because they see their teacher loving it. The power of a teacher is the power to inspire. My core belief, from which I will not yield, is that a good teacher, with the right curriculum, at the right time in a young person’s life, can make a huge difference in who that young citizen turns out to be. I come to school with that belief every day, and know that miracles are happening, right now, today and every day.”
Mr. Galante is a teacher who is long remembered and cherished by his students, and alumni looking at this website story may be cheering as they read this. Maybe some will decide to send him a note at the email address listed below.
By Brad Kallet
High school teachers from central and upstate New York met on the SU campus April 13 for a professional development seminar. All of the teachers currently teach PSY 205 through Syracuse University Project Advance (SUPA).
Marlene Blumin, Associate Professor in SU’s School of Education, spoke about strategic learning skills and led a discussion about how to incorporate them into the curriculum. Topics of interest included test preparation, decoding a syllabus and time management.
Blumin’s lively discussion was informative and prompted many responses from the participants. At one point during the discussion, associate director John Fiset observed that one thing that hasn’t changed over the last several decades is how students like to be taught.
“Kids don’t want to memorize and they don’t want to learn ‘stuff’,’ ” Fiset said.
The second presentation at the seminar was led by Larry Lewandowksi, Professor of Psychology in The College of Arts and Sciences. Lewandowski’s segment focused on “Syllabus Maker,” an automated program that is being designed by SUPA to create syllabi. “Syllabus Maker” aims to standardize syllabi across all sections that are offered by SUPA.
SUPA will host PSY 205 teachers from downstate high schools at a seminar on May 7 in New York City at Syracuse University’s Lubin House.
See pictures from the upstate seminar here.
By Mehvesh Shereef
Over the last several decades, the emphasis on economics at the high school level has drastically increased, however teacher preparation for teaching economics has lagged behind. Though lawmakers have been attempting to reverse this trend, the truth is that a substantial number of high school teachers are unprepared to instruct basic economics courses.
That is where Syracuse University Project Advance (SUPA) comes in.
Economics professors Don Dutkowsky and Jerry Evensky, along with Jerry Edmonds, director of SUPA, recently received a grant that will cover teacher costs for ECN 600, an online course that will be given at Syracuse University in the summer of 2010. The grant will give teachers the opportunity to learn about various principles of economics for no charge. ECN 600 will be taught over a six-week period and will be overseen by Dutkowsky and Evensky.
And as fewer and fewer students leave high school without an understanding of economic principles, the time to make a difference is now.
According to a report by the Council for Economic Education (CEE), the number of states mandating an economics course in order to graduate high school increased from 13 in 1998 to 21 in 2009. Though these states make up 65% of the U.S. population, research indicates that the majority of high school students are still graduating without an understanding of the most fundamental economic concepts.
Another study conducted by the CEE found that 97% of adults believe that economics should be included in high school curricula. The study, designed to gauge economic literacy in the U.S, also analyzed the results of an economics quiz which was based on elementary aspects of economics. The study reported that 93% of high school students believe that it is important for Americans to have a good understanding of economics. Despite this finding, 60% of high school students received a failing grade on the quiz.
“In the past two years, there have been even more efforts to bring economics to every high school,” Dutkowsky, a professor of Economics at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, said. “However, effort is one thing and quality is another.”
Economics is generally a component of the social studies curriculum at most high schools. But according to Dutkowsky, the infusion of economics into such a program just doesn’t do the subject matter justice. Many states now have mandates requiring that high schools offer economics as a separate class. Unfortunately, only a handful of high school teachers have the credentials to teach these courses. Often, the burden of meeting the economics mandate is placed on unqualified social studies teachers, further exacerbating the problem.
“Nobody wants to do it because they don’t have an economics background,” Evensky, a professor of Economics at the Maxwell School and author of Economics: Ideas and issues for a Sustainable World, said. “So they take the least senior person and say, ‘Here is your book. Go teach’.”
Unfortunately for students, the majority of social studies teachers just don’t have the training, resources, or educational background to teach economics.
“Research has shown that many colleges and universities require minimal, if any, elementary economics courses in order to obtain a degree in secondary social studies,” Dutkowsky said. “The consensus among the teachers we’ve spoken to on a continuous basis is that those who have to teach it just try to survive it.”
Determined to address the serious need for well-trained economics teachers, Dutkowsky and Evensky have created a free three-credit graduate course in economics. The goal of the initiative is to properly prepare New York’s high school teachers if and when they are called on to teach this material.
“We are trying to create an environment that weds basic comfort with the content with a sense of how to teach it,” Evensky said. “The course will be as efficient as possible but as effective as necessary.”
New York public high schools are required under state education laws to offer and staff economics courses for every institution. In addition, new mandates now require that the areas of personal finance and entrepreneurship be addressed in the classroom. To complicate matters further, David Paterson, the Governor of New York, recently proposed a state budget that would result in the largest cut to school aid in more than two decades.
While organizations like CEE have started to offer one-day workshops in New York City, they primarily focus on pedagogy rather than teacher’s needs.
“What you see is rather sporadic here,” Dutkowsky said. “You have some regional teaching centers that will have workshops on teaching methods, but content help is few and far between.”
Dutkowsky and Evensky recognize this issue and are determined to make this course more worthwhile for teachers. The goal of ECN 600 will be to provide instructors with not only innovative lesson plans, but also a more firm understanding of the material that they will be teaching.
“When teachers graduate from this course, they can go back to their classrooms and teach students for the next ten years about what they’ve learned,” Evensky said. “That is a lot of students becoming better educated in economics.
There is no fee for the course – all expenses from the textbook to the required three day stay at Syracuse University are covered – thanks to Project Advance and a grant from the Council of Economic Education. It is specifically designed to accommodate teachers’ hectic schedules, hence it being given in the summer. To register go to http://supa.syr.edu/ecn600/
In addition to completing the required tutorials and homework assignments, participants will also be able to ask questions during online office hours. At the end of the course, participants will meet with experienced high school economics teachers during an onsite workshop at SU to discuss lesson plans and pedagogy. Applications will be accepted until May 2010, and only teachers certified in the state of New York with full-time teaching contracts can apply.
In a time of record breaking unemployment rates, a mounting budget deficit, and U.S. cities on the verge of declaring bankruptcy, the state of the economy has undoubtedly sparked a national interest in more economics education. But the means to provide that education is difficult.
And this is where the Project Advance ECN 600 course will help to fill in the gaps.
“The economy is like a soap opera in the sense that it’s literally ‘on the air’ a lot,” Evensky said. “What separates it from a soap opera, however, is that it actually matters. You can’t turn it off and it’ll go away. It affects our lives. So to understand it in more meaningful ways makes the world a much more interesting and fun place to observe above and beyond all the functional reasons for understanding it.”
SUPA is a partnership program between Syracuse University and over 170 high schools across New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Massachusetts, and Maine. Through SUPA, high school students take college-level courses in their own schools during the regularly scheduled school day. Currently, SUPA offers 31 courses across 19 academic disciplines. For more information about the program, please visit the Web site at supa.syr.edu.
Syracuse University Project Advance (SUPA) announces the publication of Our Courses Your Classroom®: Research on Syracuse University Courses Taught in High School, edited by Gerald S. Edmonds, SUPA director, and Sari Z. Signorelli, SUPA associate director. Collected here, for the first time in one volume, is a retrospective of SUPA’s research since its inception in 1972.
Edmonds and Signorelli selected the best studies from three decades of research to provide a solid reference for administrators, students, and faculty who are interested in developing and/or evaluating their own concurrent enrollment programs.
“Research and evaluation are important components of a quality concurrent enrollment program and we hope that this book will aid and encourage more published research for educators to utilize,” says Edmonds.
Syracuse University has been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for the fourth consecutive year. SU is one of only 12 institutions in New York state to receive the recognition with distinction.
The honor roll, launched in 2006 by the Corporation for National and Community Service, recognizes colleges and universities nationwide that support innovative and effective community service and service-learning programs. SU has received this recognition each year since the program’s inception.
SU was recognized for the work done by the more than 7,000 students engaged in public scholarship during the 2008-09 academic year, supporting the University’s vision of Scholarship in Action.
The scope of this work included collaboration on entrepreneurial projects; providing multiple kinds of literacy tutoring in schools, community-based organizations and churches; providing legal services to low-income clients; enhancing civic participation around relevant issues through public scholarship in the arts, humanities and design; creating innovative sustainable architectural designs and building models; and performing community benchmarking that helps local governments and nonprofits improve performance and accountability.
“This renewed recognition was earned, and is shared, campus wide,” says SU Chancellor and President Nancy Cantor. “Student and faculty engagement with our local and global communities is woven into SU’s fabric. Its breadth and depth, as well as the deeply reciprocal nature of our relationships with partners from across the public, private and nonprofit sectors, reflect the essence of our identity as a public good.”
To read the entire story, click here
From the Eagle Newspapers/cnylink.com:
An added perk to enrolling in the Cicero-North Syracuse High School’s entrepreneurship class is the hands-on experience the students will acquire, according to Linda Dwyer, C-NS business teacher of 16 years.
One of the more recent field trips for the business students was a visit to the Dinosaur Bar-B-Q, located at 246 W. Willow St., Syracuse. There is also a Dinosaur location in Rochester and New York City.
The Syracuse location, owned by John Stage, has been in business since 1988 at the very same Willow Street location. Stage met with the 80 students in the entrepreneurship class Wednesday morning Nov. 18 at his restaurant to host a question and answer session. The students also enjoyed lunch at the barbecue joint.
This high school class is like no other for a few reasons. Teamed up with Syracuse University, students that complete the course will earn four equivalent college credits that they will receive in an SU transcript at the end of the year. The credits can be transferred to any higher education institution.
C-NS is also the only school in the state to be a part of the Syracuse University Project Advance program that involves college credit earning opportunities, according to Dwyer.
The high school curriculum has recently been reorganized to better reflect that of the university’s. During this past summer, Dwyer said the high school and the university worked together to make sure that the books and materials being used for both classes were the same.
SU professors also visit the high school classes to give added instruction throughout the year.
“The partnership with SU is really great,” Dwyer said.
The only difference is that the high school students have an entire school year to cover the material, while the SU students complete the same entrepreneurship class in one semester.
To read the rest of the story, click here.
Sally Mitchell, a chemistry teacher at East Syracuse-Minoa High School and SUPA instructor, recently won the prestigious Conant Award for high school chemistry teachers in the United States. Download her acceptance speech as it appeared in the Journal of Chemical Education.
Congratulations to William Bogatz, who teaches SU’s Economics 203 at Wantagh High School, received the “Friends of Education” award from Phi Delta Kappa International at Stony Brook University. Bogatz was honored at dinner on the Stony Brook campus. Dr. Carl Bonuso, Superintendent of Wantagh School District was the keynote speaker.
Ninety high school teachers from over 50 schools in MI, NJ and NY trained for certification to teach SU courses in their local high schools at the SUPA Summer Institute 2009. Twenty-two workshops were offered during the month of July by SU faculty from the School of Education, School of Information Studies, The Martin J. Whitman School of Management, The College of Arts and Sciences and the L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science.
Successful completion of the summer workshops qualifies instructors to teach sections of the SU courses in their high schools during the regularly scheduled high school day.Over 6000 students register annually for SU courses offered in 170 high schools through Project Advance.
“I’m so excited to be training to teach the SU course.The kids take these classes seriously because they are the real thing and it’s going to be great to teach,” said Kevin Shapiro, from Wantagh High School.
Syracuse University Forensics student teams from Long Beach and Ward Melville High Schools placed first and second in the C.S.I. Challenge held on the SUNY Stonybrook campus this past May. Over 500 students from 35 schools in Nassau, Suffolk and Queens competed in the 2009 challenge.
Long Beach High School’s teammates Danny Butler, Richard Chan, Max Gropper, Ali Baltrusaitis, Samantha Larsen, Diana Sablich, Melissa Rosenberg, Ryan Murdy, Robert Levokove, Josh Gross and Tim Cabasino, led by SUPA teacher Gary Ribis, placed 1st among the 51 teams that participated.
Ward-Melville High School SUPA teachers Jennifer Visconti and Todd Kettler led teammates Kathryn O’Dwyer, Brandon Gerardi, Brandon Vaeth, Katie Reilly, Jenny Granger, Nick Scotto, Amanda Rand, Jenna Bruno, Jane O’Keefe, Rebecca Downs, Colleen Murphy and Jackie O’Sullivan in their 2nd place finish.
The C.S.I. competition requires students to conduct a comprehensive hands-on criminal investigation of a fictional murder mystery. Each team is presented with a simulated crime scene that students have to evaluate, analyze and interpret during the 8-hour event. Teams are rated on crime scene processing and documentation; physical evidence recognition, collection and preservation; physical evidence examination and interpretation; interview and interrogation skills and on their final presentation.
Syracuse University’s Forensic Science course is offered though Project Advance in over 65 high schools throughout New York, New Jersey and Maine. This course gives students first-hand experience in crime detection and analysis and emphasizes techniques for blood analysis, organic and inorganic evidence analysis, microscopic investigations, hair analysis, DNA, drug chemistry and toxicology, fiber comparisons, paints, glass compositions and fragmentation, fingerprints, soil comparisons, and arson investigations.
From the Syracuse Post-Standard:
Angela DeSantis urges her students to get involved in politics and government to have a say in their futures.
She practices what she preaches.
Last year, she served as the Barack Obama presidential campaign’s student outreach coordinator to motivate students on local college campuses to register and vote.
“I feel strongly that young people need to be involved in the political process and in government,” DeSantis said.
The East Syracuse-Minoa Central High School teacher is being honored today with the Liberty Bell Award at Law Day 2009 ceremonies sponsored by the Onondaga County Bar Association. The Liberty Bell Award is given annually to a non-lawyer whose community service has contributed to the American system of justice and liberty.
DeSantis also is being recognized for volunteering with the local Alzheimer’s Association. She had cared for her mother who had the disease.
DeSantis would not have been eligible for the award in the not-so-distant past because she was a practicing lawyer for 16 years.
“In a prior life, I was an attorney but I gave it up to become a teacher eight years ago,” she said. She teaches social studies and economics and serves as the faculty adviser to the mock trial team.
With the nation’s current economic situation, DeSantis said economics is a vital class. She also encourages her social studies students to take an active role in government.
“I find it inspiring to see a new generation coming up through the ranks,” she said in explaining her motivation to get involved in the Obama campaign. She worked primarily on the campuses of Syracuse University and Le Moyne College – and some at Colgate University – to get students motivated to vote.
“He came from a new generation,” she said of Obama, adding it was exciting to see “how far we’ve come” as a nation with the first African-American nominated for president by a major party.
DeSantis said she has no regrets about changing careers even though she noted, “I work a lot harder now than I ever did as a lawyer.”
James T. Spencer, professor of chemistry in Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences, was recently appointed to the position of associate dean for mathematics, sciences, research and facilities.
In his new position, Spencer will provide ongoing leadership for the college’s mathematics and natural sciences departments; support the recruitment and retention of world-class faculty members; act as a primary liaison between the college and the Office of Research and the Office of Sponsored Programs; and manage, coordinate and implement all facilities and space planning activities in the college.
Appointed to the Department of Chemistry as an assistant professor in 1986, Spencer is the founder and director of the college’s interdisciplinary Forensic Science Program, director of the Soling Program, founder and chair of the University’s MayFest celebration (now known as SU Showcase), founder and director of the SU Brass Ensemble, and a core faculty member with the Renée Crown University Honors Program.
Spencer has also served on a number of departmental, college and University-wide committees. He served as chair of the University Senate Research Committee and of the Senate Task Force on Undergraduate Research and Creative Expression. He has also served on the college’s Faculty Council and the college’s promotion and tenure, instruction, Coronat Scholars and technology transfer committees.
A 2000 recipient of the BUSA Distinguished Achievements in Boron Science award, Spencer is author of more than 75 publications in leading chemical journals, has given numerous presentations and invited lectures, and served as preceptor for 12 doctoral and three master’s degree students. During his tenure, Spencer has taught more than 20 different courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, established new courses, and redesigned existing courses in chemistry, honors and forensic science.
Under Spencer’s leadership, the Soling Program was completely revised and new goals, courses, events and projects were created. In addition, Spencer has undertaken responsibility for coordinating student nominations for scholarships from the prestigious Goldwater Foundation and the Astronaut Foundation Scholarship Program.
Spencer serves as the primary faculty liaison for SU’s Project Advance (SUPA) chemistry and forensic science programs and meets annually with high school teachers and administrators to discuss curricular issues. He organizes four professional development seminars each semester for participating high school teachers and directs the SUPA chemistry and forensic science summer workshops for teachers who are new to the program. Over the years, Spencer has presented lectures on chemistry and forensic science to more than 10,000 high school students.
Spencer has served as director of the SU Brass Ensemble since its founding in 1991. The group is composed of SU and SUNY Upstate Medical University faculty, staff and students, who are accomplished brass and percussion musicians, as well as musicians from the Central New York community.
Spencer holds a Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from Iowa State University of Science and Technology and a bachelor’s degree from the SUNY College at Potsdam. Prior to coming to SU, Spencer was a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Virginia from 1984-86.
Kathleen Gnazzo and students from her public policy class at Clarkstown North High School are leading a movement encouraging fellow students and teachers to use GoodSearch to benefit Charity Water, a non-profit organization bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations.
Gnazzo’s public policy class, a part of Syracuse University’s Project Advance program, promotes student engagement in community service. With a campaign slogan of “Have you done your good (deed) search today?” the students are encouraging fellow peers and teachers to use GoodSearch through fliers by every computer, huge signs in the library and main hallway and through email blasts. Teachers and students are now getting on board and using GoodSearch for Charity:Water because of the students efforts in spreading the word!
Visit the class blog by going to their class blog at http://blogs.ccsd.edu/nhs_charity_water/ .
Visit Good Search at http://www.goodsearch.com/
If there were a modern manifestation of a Renaissance man on the SU campus, it would be personified by Spencer. In addition to his international reputation as a boron and materials chemist, Spencer has pursued an eclectic range of activities during his tenure in the sciences, arts and humanities, which have engaged the campus community as well as communities of scientists, artists, educators and students from Central New York and across the nation.
Spencer is founder and first director of The College of Arts and Sciences’ interdisciplinary Forensic Science Program; recent director of the Soling Program; founder and chair of the University’s MayFest Celebration (renamed this spring as SU Showcase); and a core faculty member in the Renée Crown University Honors Program. He was also founder and first director of SU’s Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program in chemistry, funded by the National Science Foundation.
Spencer is co-founder and director of the SU Brass Ensemble, composed of SU and SUNY Upstate Medical University faculty, staff and students who are accomplished brass and percussion musicians, as well as musicians from the Central New York community. In addition, he coordinates student nominations for scholarships from the prestigious Goldwater Foundation and the Astronaut Foundation Scholarship Program.
As the primary faculty liaison for SU’s Project Advance (SUPA) chemistry and forensic science programs, Spencer organizes professional development seminars for participating high school teachers and directs the SUPA chemistry and forensic science summer workshops for teachers who are new to the program. Over the years, he has presented lectures on chemistry and forensic science to more than 10,000 SUPA high school students across the Northeast.
Spencer is deeply committed to science education at both the science major and non- scientists levels. He believes that: “We are all born natural scientists. Newborns learn about the world around them through an intuitive form of the scientific method: observe, seek patterns, experiment and observe again,” he says. “However, during the process of formal education, the excitement of discovery and the relevance of science can easily become lost and needs to be rekindled.”
Spencer’s goal as a teacher is to “help all learners understand scientific thinking and to appreciate, through the study of science, the mysteries of the world around them and the opportunities science provides.” He believes that “by framing questions properly with an eye to student interests, such as forensic science, we can channel those interests into unique opportunities to teach fundamental scientific principles.”
For his Meredith Project, Spencer plans to continue to use forensic science as a vehicle for enhancing overall science literacy at both the secondary school and college levels. He calls it “science by stealth.” “Forensic science is inherently a reverse-format learning experience,” he says. “A mystery needs to be solved, and solving that mystery leads directly to opportunities to apply scientific concepts, careful observation and critical thinking to arrive at a reasonable solution.”
Spencer plans to develop new classroom materials that will arm students with scientific concepts to guide them through the learning process; develop a new textbook, casebook, creative mock-trial crime scene modules and laboratory materials that emphasize important concepts and deductive learning experiences; and make the materials available to high school and middle school teachers and provide training opportunities for those who use them.
“The project will enhance instruction in our very large introductory science courses on campus by providing refocused materials, assessment tools and interactivity,” Spencer says. “It will also have an important impact beyond campus by providing sorely needed materials to colleagues at other universities and to secondary school teachers.”
Writes the Syracuse Post-Standard, “East Syracuse-Minoa High School chemistry teacher Sally Mitchell sleeps four hours every night, and at 1 a.m. can often be found working on a lesson for a class she’ll teach a month later.”I sleep from 2 to 6 a.m. every night,” said Mitchell, who’s taught at ES-M for 10 years. “My mom has a lot of energy, and my dad has a lot of energy, so I got a double dose. I’m never tired, and the middle of the night is when I work on my lessons.”It’s that energy along with her talent, creativity and ability to engage students that’s helped Mitchell receive a prestigious national award. The 47-year-old Manlius resident is the 2009 winner of the James Bryant Conant Award in High School Chemistry Teaching, given by the American Chemical Society. The prize is $5,000, and she’ll receive her award in March at Salt Lake City. Read more…
Saving for that rainy day! by Mitch Franklin (from the Syracuse Post-Standard):
Despite what many economists and politicians define as a “recession” and firmly state that we are not yet in one, many business owners and consumers would argue that we are indeed quickly slipping closer to it. Surviving a recession is not easy but can be made more bearable by keeping some basic principles in mind during the good times before the recession hits …
Gail Bulman, associate professor of Spanish language and literature, is the recipient of the
first Master’s Teaching and Advising Prize from The College of Arts and Sciences. The award
will be presented to Bulman at the college’s convocation for master’s degree candidates on
Saturday, May 10. The award honors faculty members who teach in programs that are primarily
or exclusively master’s programs. Bulman teaches several Spanish courses, including two
new graduate courses, “Performance and Postmodernism in Latin America” and “Writing the
Nation in Latin America.”
Amos Kiewe, professor of communication and rhetorical studies in the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University, has recently published “FDR’s First Fireside Chat: Public Confidence and the Banking Crisis” (Texas A&M University Press, 2007).
Kiewe’s research interests are in presidential rhetoric and political communication. In the new book, he shows how FDR’s rhetoric laid the foundation for the American public’s support of its nation’s banks and recovery of the economy. With Davis W. Houck, he previously co-authored “FDR’s Body Politics: The Rhetoric of Disability” (Texas A&M University Press, 2003) and “A Shining City on a Hill: Ronald Reagan’s Economic Rhetoric, 1951-1989″ (Praeger, 1991) and co-edited “Actor, Ideologue, Politician: The Public Speeches of Ronald Reagan” (Greenwood Press, 1992). Kiewe also edited “The Modern Presidency and Crisis Rhetoric (Praeger, 1994). Additionally, he has published in Argumentation and Advocacy, Journal of American Culture, Presidential Studies Quarterly, Southern Communication Journal and other professional journals.
From the Brighton High School (Rochester, NY) Trapezoid:
Mr. Noto is not at all afraid to proclaim exactly what he thinks of the AP course structure in one word: “disgusting.”In AP courses, the grades are primarily based on a single exam at the end of a two semester course, which, at least according to Mr. Noto, doesn’t truly reflect the ability of the students. That’s why he and other teachers at BHS have been searching for a better high-level economics class for years. This year they have finally found the solution: SUPA Economics … read more
Katie Frawley, a former student in Edward Stacy’s SU ECN 203 class at Oswego High School returned to Oswego High School as a guest speaker this fall, Frawley, an economist for the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Department of Producer Price Indexes, talked with students in Stacy’s SU ECN 101 class about her job, college, internships with the federal government and being a student-athlete (softball) in college.
Frawley is a 2006 graduate of Illinois Wesleyan University with majors in economics and political science. Frawley’s internships included one summer in Congressman James Walsh’s office, a semester at the Office of Homeland Security and one summer with Cornerstone Government Affairs. Frawley, who also took SU’s English and Writing courses through Project Advance, was Oswego High School’s 2002 valedictorian.