SciMaTech designs new environmental science pathway

Gil Leifman, Contributor

SciMaTech is looking to completely redesign the structure of the environmental science track. However, growth of the pathway is limited by a lack of classroom space, teacher availability, and scheduling. 

The new pathway would consist of three classes not currently offered at Jackson-Reed:  ecology, environmental sustainability, and engineering design and development. These classes are part of a proposed vision by SciMaTech Coordinator Lara Adewoye. 

“To offer new courses means new teachers, more space, and more space in the schedule, and those are things we really don’t have,” Environmental Science Pathway coordinator Dani Moore said.

The new pathway hopes to address the flaws of the environmental science pathway. In the past, the pathway was a collection of general science classes, with courses including biology, chemistry, physics, AP environmental science, and two other science credits. 

Because most of the classes are general, most students taking the classes are not in the pathway. Normal enrollment numbers for on-level and AP Environmental Science classes are 30-36 students, but the majority of students are not in the environmental science pathway.   

Unlike other pathways, such as biomedical science or engineering, the senior level class is the capstone project. It is usually a substantial project, meant to encapsulate all that the pathway has taught, so the students can apply their knowledge to the real world. There is no class like this for environmental science students. 

However, to formally complete the pathway, a senior project is still required.

“There isn’t student time carved out, nor is there teacher time. I don’t have any time in my schedule which is designated time to be coordinating student projects,” Moore said. She explained that the pathway frequently crumbles apart at the senior project, and only about 2 students officially complete the pathway a year.

“What I think the pathway needs in order to be equivalent to the other pathways are courses that are really dedicated to it,” Moore continued. 

 In the meantime, Dr. Moore said that the current solution is the AP Seminar class. She explained that the relatively new course would be a placeholder for the senior project.•