Engineering and Science University Magnet School, a public college preparatory middle and high school, challenges students to imagine, investigate, and invent while preparing them for demanding STEM programs at the collegiate level.
Take a walk with me through a few ESUMS classrooms at the beginning of Quarter 2 and this is what you might see: 6th grade engineering students presenting hobby organizers that were designed by following the engineering design steps and included team work, self-reflection, and task completion according to assigned deliverables; 7th grade students discussing the skull of Phineas Gage, read about and seen firsthand at the Harvard Museum in Cambridge, MA; 8th grade science students testing bridges modeled after those they designed and tested using a unique software program; high school physics students testing race cars they built to apply recently learned physics concepts; or a high school English class laboring Shakespeare's language as they deconstruct Romeo and Juliet. This is ESUMS. On an after school walk you might discover a group of debaters strategizing how to move up the ranks on the high school debate circuit, a robotics team planning for the school's launch into the First Robotics Team Competition; a parent teaching eager learners Python, a coding language; middle schoolers raising hands to answer questions posed to them by their instructor, an ESUMS 9th grade student and recent author; or a poetry club reciting verse from found poetry. This is ESUMS.
Central to our school's mission statement is that we challenge students to imagine, investigate and invent. As I visit classes daily, I can evidence our strengths and identify opportunities for continued growth. I am proud of the level of student engagement overall. As a staff we are exploring effective grading practices and student motivation. We ask you to join in a larger conversation about how children succeed. Paul Tough, author of How Children Succeed, explores performance character traits such as perseverance, conscientiousness, optimism, curiosity and self- control. In both the home and school these character traits are worthy of consideration. Students who are conscientious set goals and complete tasks such as homework and projects. When completing in class or at home project based work students must tap into their curiosity and through trial and error learn to persevere. Both the home and school must teach children that self-control, being in control of one's actions, and optimism, feeling positive about oneself and a given situation, are important traits that lead to embracing an attitude that you can and must succeed in spite of all challenges and obstacles.
I believe that ESUMS can be a model for educational change. I believe that project based learning and strategy embedded teaching results in meaningful and purposeful learning experiences. I believe that if we, the home and the school, encourage the right habits of mind, a student primed for success will journey from the home, to the schoolhouse and into the demanding STEM programs of the nation's best colleges and universities. I am hopeful that we will do this work together because when I look at the great things that happen in our school and the faces of the students as they are challenged and excel, I know that tomorrow's leaders are being made here today.