Ardenwood Science Prep
SAVE SCIENCE PREP AT ARDENWOOD SCHOOL To: Dr. Milt Werner, Ms. Parvin Ahmadi, Mr. Larry Sweeney, Ms. Lara York, Mr. Bryan Gebhardt, Ms. Lily Mei, Ms. Ivy Wu, We, the undersigned, respectfully request that the Fremont Unified School District Board of Education and Staff retain a Science prep teacher at Ardenwood Elementary school. Elementary school students must receive science education as described by Science Content Standards for California Public Schools. We believe that a dedicated Science prep teacher is necessary for students to achieve the level of education described by Science Content Standards for California Public Schools. We understand that the budget crisis has deeply impacted FUSD and that cuts are required. Removing our Science prep teacher, however, will significantly impact our school at an academic level. Ardenwood has been working diligently to bring up the school science standard the past few years. Science prep has played a significant role in fulfilling that goal. In 2005, Science prep time was increased from 0.7 FTE to 1.0 FTE. The Science prep teacher was able to double up the lab instruction time for the 4th and 5th grade classes. Because of the increase in classroom time, Ardenwood’s STAR test results for 5th grade Science had an astounding improvement. The percentage of students who are proficient or advanced in Science jumped from 60% in 2006 to 82% in 2007 and 84% in 2008 (California Elementary Schools average = 47%)! That 22% - 24% increase would not have been possible without the quality of instruction that was provided by our Science prep teacher. Other evidence of the importance and impact of having science prep is the significant improvement in the quality of our science fair entries in the past few years. As defined in the California State Science Standards, scientific progress is made by asking meaningful questions and conducting careful investigations. Science Lab with a Science prep teacher provides the environment for investigation and experimentation. We believe that because the Science prep teacher in Ardenwood is specifically trained in Science, she has been able to address questions in science and teach the students how to develop a hypothesis, select and use appropriate tools and technology, write scientific reports and verbal presentations, and recognize whether evidence is consistent with a proposed explanation. The impact of her mentorship has been evident in the test scores and science fair entries and presentations. Classroom teachers cannot provide what a specialist with her background and training has been able to provide. If we want to encourage our children to be thinkers of tomorrow, to venture out into the world of science, or to make scientific discoveries, we need to instill the love for science when they are young. To take away Science prep is to deprive the children of an opportunity that allows them to explore the knowledge they learn in class, to gain the skills they need to investigate scientific hypotheses properly, and to have the thrill and joy of learning scientific truth. Ardenwood Elementary School staff and parents have been committed to ensuring our children receive the quality education they deserve, which in turn have been reflected in the continuing increase in our school’s test scores. For the sake of our children, your students, we hope you seriously consider our petition. If elementary schools must lose their science prep teachers, we feel it is paramount that they be restored as soon as possible.