“When you have the right equipment, you can do the job right,” says Christian Anzueto. “And, it makes you more excited for the job.” You might be surprised to learn the kind of equipment that’s made this 5th grader so excited. It’s not sports equipment, or gaming equipment. Christian is talking about goggles, gloves and lab aprons: basic science lab equipment.
STEM. Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Over the next four years, STEM jobs are projected to grow twice as quickly as jobs in other fields. But there is a significant shortage of qualified candidates to fill the STEM careers in the United States. How can we prepare Massachusetts students to close that gap? How do we get those students interested in science? Citizen Schools sponsor Thermo Fisher Scientific believes that the answer is in the bag! The company is providing 400 safety lab kits to students at the Orchard Gardens Pilot School in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston and the Clarence R. Edwards Middle School in Charlestown. These bags, which include a lab coat, apron, goggles and gloves, will put the tools for success in students’ hands. It’s part of a formula that could light the spark for these future scientists. Orchard Gardens Pilot School is a true public school success story. Once one of Boston’s poorest performing schools, Orchard Gardens has transformed itself to one of the city’s fastest improving—providing students in kindergarten through 8th grade a rigorous academic experience. Part of that turnaround team is 6th Grade science teacher, Erin Dukeshire. Dukeshire was one of only four teachers in the United States last year to receive the Fishman Prize for Superlative Classroom Practice, which recognizes teachers working in high need public schools. Citizen Schools is a national education nonprofit focused on using hands-on learning experiences to bridge the opportunity gap for middle schools in low income communities. Thermo Fisher Scientific is dedicated to inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers and is a proud sponsor of Citizen Schools
“Hey Thermo Fisher, what did you do in class today?” are words often shouted across campus during dismissal. As Rich Carey explains the day’s food science activities, student excitement is palpable. In fact, the conversation usually ends with an exclamation along the lines of “I wish I had gotten into that class!” Music to a teacher’s ears, right? But Rich isn’t your average teacher. A Manager of Technical Systems at Thermo Fisher, he volunteers as a “Citizen Teacher” with Citizen Schools.
In their afternoon “apprenticeship” class, students learn about the science behind food. Through experiments in making ice cream, butter, and other delicious foods, Rich is bringing his love of science to the classroom and helping students develop skills to succeed in high school, college, and a career.
Rich’s ability to generate excitement and enthusiasm in the classroom is part of a long standing passion for teaching. Before beginning his journey as a Citizen Teacher, he has lead groups with his church and lead sessions at local school’s science fairs.
When he heard about Citizen Schools, he was hooked. “My students don’t get the same opportunities as other students. But they have just as much potential. I want to be a part of unlocking that.” Now, his “I Scream, You Scream” apprenticeship is a student favorite, earning envy from students who aren’t in the class.
This month, we are proud to recognize Rich Carey as our Citizen Teacher of the month! Meet Rich...
What advice would you give to those considering becoming a Citizen Teacher?
“It’s fun! I am an advocate for getting people to see that they need to get involved. Seeing the students’ growth first hand is amazing, and the amount of gratification gained from the experience is incredible.”
What surprised you the most about teaching an an apprenticeship?
“The amount of excitement the students have for the subject. They are like sponges, soaking up everything I’ve said. In fact, students have gone off and used the things that I’ve taught them and applied it to other parts of their schooling. Some of their experiments have even been used in science fairs!”
What was your biggest WOW! moment?
“There were so many moments, it is hard to just choose one. But one that tends to stick out in my mind was the growth of one student in particular. We had a girl who was very, very shy and declared early that she did not want to speak during the WOW! presentation. My co-teacher and I began working with her over many weeks; prepping her and even providing a script for her to directly read from. I am proud to say at both the campus and city-wide WOW!s she did a spectacular job, and didn’t even need the script!”
You can make an impact like Rich by signing up to teach an apprenticeship with Citizen Schools.