FLUSHING, NEW YORK, August 19, 2005 — Queens College is thinking globally and acting locally to create a better academic climate for the teaching of science in New York schools.
As southern New York State’s program partner for GLOBE, an international science education initiative, the college has trained 700 teachers in more than 300 city and suburban schools, as well as other institutions, to help students monitor and record environmental data. Participants observe specific conditions in five categories: air, soil, water, land use/land cover, and seasonal change. Their findings are entered in the GLOBE database, for the benefit of scientists all over the world.
Now, Queens College faculty members are looking forward to the fall opening of the GLOBE School for Environmental Research, an innovative middle school (grades 6 through 8) located at 3710 Barnes Avenue in the Bronx’s Wakefield neighborhood. The new Region 2 school—the first institution of its kind in the world—will base its entire curriculum on GLOBE principles. About 200 sixth-graders make up the entering class, drawn from all over the Bronx.
“We will stress experiential, field-based learning, so students can see its practical application in the real world,” says Barbara Hartnett, principal of the GLOBE School. “At the same time, the new school concept will take away anonymity. Teachers will really get to know students, and students will get to know teachers, so we’ll be able to keep children from slipping through the cracks.”
The GLOBE School for Environmental Research is a collaboration involving Queens College and the YMCA of Greater New York, as well as the New York Botanical Garden, where a research station will be established and students will have internships. “The community
involvement piece is critical,” says Allan Ludman, GLOBE-NY Metro director, and a professor at the Queens College School of Earth and Environmental Sciences.
GLOBE emphasizes hands-on, age-appropriate activities that can be integrated into daily classroom work at any academic level, from pre-kindergarten through high school. Each school receives about $600 worth of equipment and instruction in its use on site.
“The point isn’t that students are learning chemistry or physics or biology,” explains Ludman. “They’re learning about the natural world in a way that makes science understandable.” At the same time, they are developing observational abilities, math skills, general literacy, and a sense of what research involves.
The new middle school will apply a similar approach to all academic subjects, stressing the investigative process. “The same sense of inquiry and rigorous research will permeate every aspect of the program, from math and science to the humanities,” says Ludman. “Students will learn that what historians do, for example, isn’t far removed from what scientists do.”
They may also discover that exploring a topic can be fun. At Franklin K. Lane High School in Brooklyn, the GLOBE program reduced participants’ absenteeism and lateness, prompting assistant principal Norman Cohn to say, “This program is saving kids’ lives.”
Over the past five years, the GLOBE program at Queens College has received more than $150,000 from the Consolidated Edison Company of New York, which has been used to train the Bronx teachers and others throughout the region. By partnering with Queens College, Region 2 has also received a three-year grant of $3.6 million from the New York State Department of Education to improve professional development in science education, with GLOBE central to meeting that goal.
Queens College of the City University of New York (CUNY) offers an exceptional liberal arts curriculum, with over 100 undergraduate and graduate programs and a variety of specialized honors programs. Located on a beautiful, 77-acre campus in Flushing, Queens College enjoys a national reputation for its liberal arts and sciences and pre-professional programs. In fact, it ranks #8 in the nation according to the 2006 edition of The Princeton Review America’s Best Value Colleges. Queens College’s nearly 17,000 students come from more than 140 nations and speak scores of languages, creating an extraordinarily diverse and welcoming environment.
For more about Queens College, please visit http://www.qc.cuny.edu/index.php
Contact: Phyllis Cohen Stevens
Deputy Director of News Services