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Students need to keep competitive edge

by Anna Wilson
| June 23, 2010 9:00 PM

America's youth are losing their competitive edge in the worldwide STEM pipeline (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Ramsey Magnet School of Science is committed to helping students prepare to be globally competitive by providing them with multiple hands-on science opportunities.

Ramsey Elementary's quest began in April 2009 when the students participated in their first all-school Science Day. This was a new, engaging adventure for the students and teachers. All 600+ students spent the entire day rotating through a variety of science stations. At the end of the event, students and staff expressed interest in regularly participating in similar experiences. In the words of one of Ramsey's first grade students, "Science Day was the best day of my life!" Thus, a leadership committee of teachers and administrators met in June 2009 to plan science events and activities for the upcoming year which evolved throughout the school year into our formal quest to become a Coeur d'Alene School District "magnet school" for science.

In March our hard work was rewarded when the School Board granted Ramsey magnet school status beginning in the fall of 2010. What does this mean for our students? The underlying goal of Ramsey's staff and parents is to foster students' love of topics about which they are naturally curious - exploration, nature, space, anatomy, physics, plants, animals, rocks and minerals, etc. Our vision is that teachers use an inquiry-based, hands-on approach to the study of science. Big ideas in science are integrated into language arts, reading, and math curriculum. Students participate in a variety of science-related experiences throughout the year, learning the problem-solving and critical thinking skills needed to "think like scientists."

Here are some of our accomplishments to date:

PTO funding for a science lab

Community donations totaling $16,750 to purchase supplementary science materials for our classrooms

EXCEL grants totally nearly $9,400 to promote science education

Integration of science across the curriculum throughout our school day

Quarterly school-wide science days and a weekly science exploratory

Science "word of the week" focus and activities

STC (Science and Technology for Children) hands-on, inquiry-based lab kits in every classroom - 3 per grade level

Science-focused professional development for teachers, field trips and assemblies for all grades

Club Think! - a before and after school science club for grades 3-5

Mars Rover Challenge - a 5th grade engineering team

Spring Science Fair with all students participating in a class, group or individual project

90 applications for students new to Ramsey for the fall of 2010 thus requiring the addition of three new teachers / classrooms

Remember, whether you live in the Ramsey attendance zone or not - all students who are new to Ramsey Magnet School of Science this fall will need to fill out an application for enrollment as soon as possible. The forms can be found at on our website or are available in our office. The deadline for this round of applications is August 20, 2010. Currently there is limited space available in grades 3, 4 and 5. Don't miss your opportunity to be a part of this exciting learning community!

Anna Wilson is principal of the Ramsey Magnet School of Science.

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