Monroe County Schools – poised to go from “good to great” – prepare for a physics push

The Monroe County School District, which placed 8th in the Orlando Sentinel’s math and science rankings and is 11th in Florida in high school physics-taking rate, is preparing a push to improve further, or to go from “good to great” in the words of district superintendent Mark Porter.

On November 10, the district will hold a Physics Field Day for middle school students, an effort that is being organized by district science coordinator Courtney Oliver.  Most of the day will involve hands-on activities, but the day will climax with Monroe County’s first-ever Future Physicists of Florida induction ceremony, which will be held at Marathon Middle/High School.  The keynote speaker will be FSU Physics Professor Jorge Piekarewicz, who will talk about neutron stars.

Monroe County is also the first district in Florida to participate in the National Math and Science Initiative’s AP program.  The program held its first professional development program for Monroe County teachers last week.

I visited the Keys earlier this week to talk with teachers about Future Physicists of Florida and more generally the importance of physics and calculus in high school students’ academic programs.  The power point I used is here:

monroe_teachers

There was wonderful media coverage of my visit – even the Monroe County journalists are on board with the effort to improve the science and engineering pipeline in the Keys.  Here it is:

  • An article titled “FSU professor launches effort in Keys schools to grow young physicists” in Wednesday’s Keynoter (linked here).
  • An interview on Tuesday morning on the US 1 Radio show “Morning Magazine” with Bill Becker.
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