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Science Interest Not What it Seems in Baldwin-Whitehall?

Baldwin High School received praise for hosting a local science fair, but only one Baldwin-Whitehall student participated.

Baldwin High School received much praise for hosting a Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science (PJAS) fair on Saturday, so much so that PJAS officials are considering hosting an event there every year, Baldwin-Whitehall School District Superintendent Dr. Randal A. Lutz said at a B-W School Board meeting on Wednesday night.

Lutz estimated that the annual fair, which is open to students in grades 7-12 from Allegheny and Westmoreland counties, brought around 1,000 competing students to Baldwin High this year from around 85 school districts.

But while approximately 60 Baldwin-Whitehall students volunteered to help to host the event, only one B-W student was among the 1,000 who actually participated. And that news alone put a damper on what was otherwise a great day for science in the district.

"If we don't have participants in the fair itself, it's a waste," said district parent Amy Schmotzer during public comments time at Wednesday's meeting. "We don't want our kids just to be the ambassadors."

Schmotzer is the mother of the lone B-W participant—junior Victoria Schmotzer, a student representative to the school board.

"I know that kids are very busy," board President Nancy Sciulli DiNardo said, "and they are overwhelmed and overworked and everything else that goes with it, but I think we need to do more to get our kids (involved).

"Perhaps seeing this (event) at the high school will motivate them ... but I think we need to do more."

Both Sciulli DiNardo and fellow board member Nancy Lee Crowder said that a lack of science-related activities at J.E. Harrison Middle School is a possible reason for a lack of interest in science at the high-school level.

"There's always been that disconnect between Harrison and the high school," Sciulli DiNardo said. "In elementary, I know that kids were really excited with science, but then, something happens where there's a disconnect.

"I don't want our students to just be volunteers to help other kids excel. I want our kids to be the ones (to excel)."

Added Crowder, "It's so disappointing to me, as a parent who volunteered for the PTA in elementary school, to see those science fairs that we had annually in those PTAs ... drop off, for some reason, up at Harrison.

"There's no science fairs or science events up in Harrison. And now, just to hear that just one person (participated on Saturday), that's just so disappointing to me."

Victoria Schmotzer pointed out that middle-schoolers, too, were eligible to participate on Saturday.

Amy Schmotzer said that entering projects in science fairs is an opportunity for students to earn scholarships.

"They're not hard projects," she said. "And (they) aren't expensive. It's a $4 board at Pat Catan's and some construction paper."

Read through other Baldwin-Whitehall School Board items here.

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cc February 10, 2013 at 02:04 AM
ne12ukid we already know that you are also nofire pitts. don't have any friends come play with you. By the way idiot, i never click on your stupid links as you always put up stupid things that don't belong in the article anyways. you must live a pathetic lonely life torturing your neighbors.
NE12Ukid February 10, 2013 at 04:07 AM
cc is delusional again. At least it is evident that more and more Patch readers are seeing this lately.
cc February 10, 2013 at 03:21 PM
Yes ne12ukid, people see how much of a joke you are hiding behind your hundreds of names. you gave up on the ml name when to many people told you off as the idiot you are.
Jamie Miller February 13, 2013 at 03:21 AM
I agree with the assessment of the High School Biology teachers. My son's course is a complete self learning module. This is not ideal for first time biology students. There is no teaching going on, only a course facilitator.
nofire pitts February 13, 2013 at 10:40 PM
Do not discount the political intimidation factor in the science classroom. cc can't imagine why it might be important to acknowledge the contributions of Charles Darwin. If "there is no teaching going on, only a course facilitator" it wouldn't surprise me if the teacher were afraid of controversy in this political climate. Look at this nut who actually sits on the US House of Representatives SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY committee: http://news.yahoo.com/congressman-calls-evolution-lie-pit-hell-175514039.html "God's word is true," Broun said, according to a video posted on the church's website. "I've come to understand that. All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and Big Bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of hell. And it's lies to try to keep me and all the folks who are taught that from understanding that they need a savior." Locally you have Republican wingnuts Rickieboy Santorum & his screwy wife. Ask Karen why she thinks you should not be able to think for yourself just since she got religion with Rickieboy - after living for six years with Dr. Tom Allen! http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/obituaries/obituary-thomas-e-allen-doctor-of-choice-was-leader-of-social-artistic-causes-672278/ Do some research into the Texas state school board and the insane power that these nuts wield over science education even nationwide for textbooks used! http://www.therevisionariesmovie.com/about.html

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