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Voyager WINTER 2009

Discovering Science at Kent Place School By Gayle Allen, Director of Studies and Assistant Head

“A different language is a different vision of life.” — Vera Rubin, astronomer and 1993 National Science Medal winner

Asking Questions and Gathering Data “Not everything that counts can be counted and not everything that can be counted counts." — Sign hanging in Albert Einstein's office at Princeton University

Speaking of counting and what counts…what do the numbers tell us about the state of young women in science today? Have we made inroads nationally to effect change with regard to women’s participation in science within and beyond K-12 schools? As educators, where can we celebrate success? Where should we focus future efforts? For now, what assumptions do we hold about women and science, and how well do they match the statistics? How about a little quiz? Please read the following questions (based on the latest National Science Foundation statistics on women and science). Circle the letter of the answer you think is correct. Answers are listed at the end of this article.

1. Women earned approximately ___ percent of science and engineering bachelor degrees awarded in 2005 in the U.S., up from 25 percent in1966. a. 32 b. 38 c. 42 d. 50

2. In 2005, women made up 76 percent of graduate students in ___, 56 percent in the ___ sciences and 54 percent in ___. a. psychology, biological, social sciences b. biology, physical, computer science

c. psychology, physical, social sciences

d. social sciences, biological, physical sciences

3. Women made the most gains between 1995 and 2005 in ___ sciences. a. computer, physical and biological

b. psychological, biological and social

c. atmospheric, biological and social

d. earth, atmospheric and ocean

4. Women made the least gains between 1995 and 2005 in the ___ sciences. a. psychological b. biological

c. computer

d. physical

5. Women accounted for ___ percent of graduate students in engineering and ___ percent of graduate students in computer sciences in 2005. a. 22, 25

b. 10, 20 c. 30, 50 d. 50, 80

How did you do? What did you learn? Were there assumptions you held that did not hold up to current statistics? Any surprises? Are things looking up for women in science today? Well, as you can probably predict, the answer is complicated. On the one hand, you could answer that, yes, things have improved. On the other hand, you could say that the situation has worsened. Not much of an answer, huh?

Analyzing Data and Asking More Questions

When it comes to the big-picture news of women in science, the good news is that women are earning more bachelor’s degrees in science and engineering than ever before.These results speak to the increased opportunities for women to pursue science degrees, as well as the greater number of science degrees available today.These increases also point to shifts in cultural perspectives.There are fewer stigmas attached to women earning degrees in science and engineering. Over time, the number of cultural barriers has decreased.

As we analyze the data in greater detail, however, we cannot help but notice certain trends that are less positive.We see that women are gravitating more readily toward some fields than others. For example, according to the most recent National Science Foundation statistics, women hold the majority, by far, of bachelor’s degrees in the fields of health (86 percent) and psychology (77 percent).

Sixth grader Marshea Robinson learns to adjust her microscope.

Ninth grader Kelsh Keim takes notes during a biology class.

First grader Eileen Cohn works on a lab sheet that is part of a genetics unit.

This trend repeats itself at the graduate level, where women are earning 79 percent of master’s degrees in health and 78 percent in psychology. In contrast, men continue to dominate the fields of engineering, computer and related sciences, and physical and related sciences. Men are earning 78 percent of engineering and 77 percent of computer and information sciences bachelor’s degrees. At the graduate level, they are attaining 77 percent of engineering, 66 percent of computer and related sciences, and 66 percent of physical and related sciences master’s degrees.

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The field of computer science shows the most marked discrepancies in percentage of degrees earned. In fact, Florida Gulf Coast University researcher Kristine De Welde and University of Colorado researchers Sandra Laursen and Heather Triry, drawing on Barnard and Columbia University research data centered on how women are faring in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), reveal that “the proportion of women among those pursuing computer science degrees has declined since the mid-1980s.” Drawing on 2007 National Science Foundation research, they also note that women are earning only 35 percent of chemical engineering degrees and 14 percent of electrical engineering degrees.

While the overall percentage of science degrees earned by women has been increasing, the percentage of degrees obtained within certain fields of study remains below 50 percent and, in the case of the computer sciences, has been decreasing over time.We have questions to ask and more data to gather. In the meantime, K-12 schools have work to do and specific goals to pursue.

We know where the gaps exist – in the fields of engineering and the physical and computer sciences. If we are to close the gaps, what role can Kent Place School play in preparing young women to seek out careers in science? How are we, through our science program, science teaching and teacher professional development opportunities, working to effect change for girls?

Drawing Conclusions

“Winning the prize wasn't half as exciting as doing the work itself.”

— Maria Goeppert Mayer, 1963 winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics

In what ways does Kent Place support girls in continuing to pursue degrees and careers in science? How does Kent Place School instill a passion for science study in our students? How do our programs and our practices answer recommendations for academic preparedness made by researchers in the field?

While Kent Place School’s science program addresses a host of recommendations made by scientific and educational practitioners and researchers, there are three, in particular, that demonstrate our commitment to preparing girls for college study and careers in science. First, the school is committed to hiring science teachers who know their subject and who demonstrate the ability to create a supportive and demanding classroom environment.When university researchers De Welde, Laursen and Triry analyzed researchers’ explanations for the numbers of women in STEM careers, they concluded that girls’ K-12 science teachers make all the difference.

The classroom climate that teachers create for girls can hold the key to gaining and sustaining student interest.The ways in which teachers facilitate discussions, for example, and the extent to which they offer praise and provide individual attention are pivotal. Laura Ann Robertson, writing for The Physics Teacher journal on what researchers have found in focusing specifically on the dearth of women in physics echoes these findings. If girls feel that they lack a voice – that they cannot safely make mistakes and share their questions and ideas with peers – or if the girls feel their contributions are not valued, then they may check out. When teachers encourage students to take challenging science classes, like physics, and when they make the subject meaningful to girls by including information and discussions on issues relevant to them, researchers find that girls will engage and gain confidence in their abilities to pursue science study and careers.

Second, Kent Place School provides students what researchers contend is just as important as knowledgeable and skillful teachers: namely, a rigorous and extensive program that introduces science concepts to students at a young age. Science study at Kent Place begins in our Primary School within the Early Childhood program, which includes our Nursery, Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten students.

Science study is embedded within this curriculum and is a natural part of student learning. Beginning in first grade, Primary School students work with science specialist teachers in a science classroom space.There they engage in a hands-on science curriculum that includes the study of animals and insects, along with opportunities to engage in scientific research.

When students enter the Middle School, their science teachers continue to build on the hands-on learning experiences they gained in Primary School. Through their study of the earth, life and physical sciences, students again have opportunities to extend their learning through research projects.The Middle School Science Expo allows students to extend their understanding of specific science topics, like energy, by engaging in research and research presentations.

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Teacher Wendy Hall shows eighth graders Anna Vitton, Kai Holder and Gabriela Arias how to use new science technology in class.

Through the Middle School program, students learn how to question, experiment with, predict and explain scientific phenomena.While this approach can be challenging for students, it allows them to sample the processes scientists work through all the time. Students gain a greater degree of comfort with uncertainty and with creative problem-solving – important skills for future scientists to cultivate.When it comes to addressing the challenge of engaging girls in the computer sciences, the Middle School offers girls the opportunity to take a robotics elective.

In the Upper School, students deepen their understanding of lab work and research, as well as science content knowledge and skills, through their study of biology, chemistry, physics and environmental science. As they move through this division, they also have the opportunity to participate in Advanced Placement courses in these subjects. Essentially, students can take two years of college-credit biology, physics and chemistry during their time at Kent Place School.

The fact that girls can take two years of physical science demonstrates Kent Place School’s commitment to addressing what the National Science Foundation data reveals regarding cultivating girls’ interest, knowledge and skills in these subjects. As the new lab space becomes available on campus, opportunities for students to engage in even more research and also to build on summer research internships will only grow.

With its extensive and rigorous science program, Kent Place prepares girls to leave school well prepared to tackle science courses or to pursue science degrees in college. In terms of computer science courses, although they are offered through the technology department, girls do have the opportunity to take courses in computer programming.They can take two years of programming, if they choose, with the second year being an Advanced Placement course.

Third, extensive data from the National Science Foundation asserts that ongoing teacher professional development is a must when it comes to maintaining an extensive and rigorous science program. Once again, this is an area where Kent Place School shines.

Science teachers across each of the three divisions continually sharpen their skills through coursework and workshop and conference participation. For example, members of the Science Department have attended the annual conference of the National Science Teachers Association.They have also attended the New Jersey Science Convention and workshops in microscopy, anatomy, astronomy and ecology.Teachers keep up to date on the Advanced Placement tests by attending College Board workshops and deepen their approaches to teaching science inquiry skills in summer conferences at Milton Academy. The department has also worked with scientific software and probeware trainers from companies like Vernier in order to assist their students in using these tools to gather and analyze scientific data. Science Department Chair Wendy Hall recently became involved in a science, technology, engineering and math think tank of all-girls, independent school educators at Harpeth Hall in Tennessee.

Taking It Further

In the articles that follow, you will have the opportunity to hear more about the exciting classes and programs at Kent Place School, as well as the new science classroom and lab spaces that will soon be available. I know that your daughters are in a great place for cultivating a passion for science. In our teachers’ work with your daughters, in and out of the classroom, they demonstrate their passion for science, their desire to keep learning and their commitment to maintaining an extensive and rigorous science program.

All of the pieces are in place to ensure that your daughters gain confidence in their ability to learn science, to pursue scientific study at the college level and to emerge as a leader in a scientific field. Keep reading to learn more about our dynamic teachers and programs!

Answers to multiple-choice questions: 1) d; 2) a; 3) d; 4) c; 5) a

Inquiry-Based Learning in Science By Wendy Hall, Chair of the Science Department and Middle School Science Teacher

“The greatest tragedy of science is the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact.” — T.H. Huxley, biologist

What makes the sky blue? What causes a car to move faster when the accelerator is pressed? How does a worm move through dirt? Questioning is at the heart of the thinking process, and learning to ask good questions is the basis of an inquiry-based approach to teaching.

Inquiry-based teaching puts students’ critical thinking ability center stage, and it gives the student the opportunity to discover information and helps them process by understanding. Students today have facts and information readily available to them through the Internet, yet students need to understand the world beyond facts and through self-discovery, problem solving and critical thinking.

There’s an old adage: “Tell me and I forget, show me and I remember, involve me and I understand.” The last part of this statement is the essence of inquiry-based learning. Most labs in science classes today are what we call “cookbook” labs.The teacher presents the content, and the students conduct a lab that supports the content taught.There is very little emphasis on skill development and, inadvertently, what is being fostered is how to learn specific facts and formulate those facts into correct answers. An inquiry-based curriculum, however, develops skills that ultimately build a foundation for “learning how to learn.”

The inquiry approach to teaching science usually begins with a probing question. Students are given certain resources and materials to

discover/experiment the how’s and why’s.The content is ultimately discovered by the students but supported and reinforced by the teacher.The assessment at the end of the unit might consist of a problem that the student must solve, possibly writing a procedure and conducting a short experiment that demonstrates their understanding of the material.

Successful inquiry means collaborating, learning from others, using resources other than the teacher and not just expecting the answers. Successful inquiry means taking risks and learning that in the risk taking, failures and successes will occur. Successful inquiry is not asking “what is it?” but rather “how can we find out what it is?” The student becomes an active participant in the development of knowledge. Learning this way is not so much about how much a student knows but rather the understanding of how they came to understand the information.

Good inquiry teachers know they must help the students learn to be inquiry learners. At the beginning of the year, teachers conduct activities that teach the student how to self-discover, but as the year progresses and the student becomes more comfortable, less and less guidance is needed.The teacher remains as a source of support to students through the process.

In the end, the goal of the teacher is to help students understand that they are developing skills that will help them be not only successful in the course but also successful college students and ultimately successful citizens.

primary school

Encouraging a Sense of Wonder: Science in the Primary School

By Leslie Jones-Wentz and Rebecca Van Ry, Primary School Science Teachers A 2005 Washington Post article listed three reasons why girls do not stay in technology-, math- and science-related upper-level courses and careers. Personal lack of interest, lack of exposure at an early age and stereotypical signals sent by adults were all seen to contribute to the declining numbers of women who stay in these fields. At Kent Place School, one of our goals in the Science Department is to provide experiences for our girls and young women in which they constantly think of themselves as scientists.We want them to think of science as a way to solve problems and answer questions – to consider science something they enjoy and can do well.

In the Primary School, we work to eliminate the pitfalls that keep girls from pursuing the sciences. Students begin studying science in the classroom as early as Nursery and Pre-Kindergarten. By first grade, the girls have science as a Special and come twice a week to the science lab. Second graders follow the same routine. As the girls progress through the Primary School, they spend more time in the science lab, with fourth and fifth graders enjoying hour-and-a-half lab classes.

process and forming the habits of mind necessary for scientific endeavors.Whenever possible, we study the contributions women scientists have made in their fields. On special occasions, women scientists visit our classes and talk to the girls about their work, their educational backgrounds and how they chose their career.

This steady increase in class time and complexity of curriculum creates intelligent young scientists.They find they are capable of following the scientific

The curriculum in the Primary School is hands on, inquiry based and, in first through third grade, closely aligned with the social studies curriculum. Primary School science is also place based and follows seasonal changes. In the

Pre-Kindergarten teacher Linda Ucciferri works with students during their science small-group time to create nature collages with seeds and nuts collected at home and school.

Fifth graders Claire Sannini, Madeline Reynolds, Alexa Girasole and Margaret Lohuis work with teacher Rebecca Van Ry to view a trout alevin's heart beating as part of their Trout in the Classroom project.

Teacher Leslie Jones-Wentz examines seedlings during a second grade class.

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spring, the first grade girls do a multifaceted study of insects. Students observe and study the life cycles of butterflies, ladybugs and praying mantises right in the classroom. Second grade students plant a “three sisters” garden of beans, squash and corn – crops that were typically grown by Native Americans. In September, as third graders, they harvest these crops to coincide with their social studies unit on Native Americans.

Whenever possible, we integrate our outdoor classroom into the girls’ daily lessons.The girls go on nature scavenger hunts and observe the different life cycles and food networks within the garden.Throughout the winter months, students learn about migration and how to identify bird species by observing the visitors who flock to our feeders.They begin to understand what hibernation is by watching our resident groundhogs fatten up and then disappear into their burrows.

All first through fifth graders participate in the Journey North Program: Project Monarch Watch. The girls make symbolic butterflies out of paper. Fifth graders Virginia McGraw, Kayla Innes and Arianna Caiola begin to do research for their Science Fair projects. They decorate their butterflies and, with the help Below: Second grader Josephine Daab proudly shows off her science folder. of our Spanish teacher, write messages to Mexican students thanking them for preserving the monarch’s southern habitats.These paper insects are then sent to Mexican students for the winter.When the real monarchs head north in the spring, the symbolic butterflies also make their way back north.They return to Kent Place with updates from the Mexican students and teachers.

Field trips are an integral part of the Primary science curriculum. Each grade goes on at least one science field trip during the academic year.These trips are curriculum based. In first and second grade the trips include visits to local farms, to the Great Swamp and to the Central Park Zoo rainforest exhibit. The fifth grade begins its year with an ecology-centered three-day adventure to the New Jersey School of Conservation near Stokes State Forest.There, they get a first-hand look at what field ecology entails and learn about the delicate balance in different ecosystems. After researching our solar system, fourth grade students journey to the County College of Morris planetarium, where they receive a customized program that teaches them how to locate and identify constellations in the night sky.Third graders receive on-site training to learn how to identify different rocks and minerals. During a trip to Sandy Hook, they explore different marine habitats and geography.They also go seining, identify different invertebrates and discover the historic coastal lifestyle of the Lenni Lenape people. In our science lab, the girls are constantly doing the work of scientists.They ask questions, conduct experiments, learn how to collect and analyze data, observe the natural world around them and then document their findings in their notebooks or science journals.Where possible, we structure time for the girls to pursue an area within the current unit that interests them.The girls often have time to create something that allows them to reflect on the new information they learned.

Scientific training in the Primary School culminates in the fifth grade science fair. For their science fair projects, the girls draw upon the skills they have been building for more than five years to conduct their own science experiment. They move through all of the steps in the scientific process, using their teacher only as a sounding board. For weeks they observe, collect data and analyze information, using all types of technology from computer microscopes to Excel spreadsheets. Students present their findings to the Primary School community, sharing their discoveries and paving the way for future fifth graders.

Another aspect of our program is the opportunity to interact with our classroom animals.The girls are exposed to a variety of life forms, and they learn to appreciate differences and understand the niche each organism fills. There is great excitement in the science room when the praying mantis nymphs emerge in the spring or when a new animal finds a safe home in the lab. Girls have many opportunities to hold or observe our pet rats, hedgehog, turtle, fish, lizards and snakes. As teachers of young girls, we work hard to eliminate the “eww” factor and concentrate on the not-so-cute and un-furry creatures of the world. Our young women leave Kent Place with the knowledge and training that will allow them to pursue future endeavors in the field of science as well as to make scientifically literate decisions throughout their lives.

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This is an exciting time in the history of our science program at Kent Place School.As leaders in science education, we continue to emphasize the importance of inquiry, exploration and discovery as we integrate the science program into a comprehensive educational experience for every Kent Place student. Research, critical thinking and problem solving are all key elements of our program. Lab experiences, field trips and the utilization of our beautiful 26acre campus all enhance our strong science program across all grade levels.

By graduation, the majority of our students have completed four to five science courses during their Upper School years, often at the Advanced Placement level. In addition, four out of every five Kent Place students have completed a calculus course, every student has participated in our laptop computer program for four years and many have completed internships or research in science or related fields of study.

Our faculty is strongly mission-driven as they strive to consistently provide a top educational experience for our students. Kent Place School teachers are true experts in their fields and dedicated to the grade levels they teach. Over 70 percent of our teachers hold master’s degrees and/or doctorates and, as a group, average 17 years in the teaching profession.

The final stages of the new building addition construction are underway, including the completion of a brand new science wing for the Upper School. Our new chemistry, biology, physics, environmental/anatomy and physiology labs, an independent research lab, a state-of-the-art prep room and a conference room will all be a part of the new science wing. Students will be able to work in university-level laboratory environments and conduct highlevel laboratory projects within the new walls of this science wing.

Our graduates will increasingly be called upon to think creatively, solve complex problems and approach issues from multiple perspectives. Science, as an area of study, greatly enhances our students’ ability to contribute solutions to the ever-changing global landscape and pioneer new discoveries as the needs of the scientific world continue to evolve.

middle school

Middle School Science: Making Connections

By Gracemarie Cirino-Warren, Middle School Science Teacher Learning science is no longer simply absorbing information about scientific theories and laws, but is based on observing the world around us, asking questions, experimenting and coming to conclusions about how the world works and how that world relates to our personal environment.This is where Kent Place’s emphasis on inquiry-based science comes in.

An inquiry-based approach to science guides students toward their own science learning, as opposed to relying on the teacher to impose knowledge on the student. It makes the student responsible for designing questions and collaborating with others about methods and experiments. Students rely on collaboration with each other to formulate questions and gather data.The teacher gets involved in helping students come to meaningful conclusions based on the questions asked and the data collected. Throughout all three years in the Middle School students take advantage of available technology to conduct research and to perform experiments.To make the study of science as close to the real world as possible, new technology methods as well as conventional hands-on techniques are utilized.

The Science Expo, which usually takes place before spring break, is the focus of all three grades for about six weeks. Each level concentrates on a different goal, though all the students design an investigation to further their understanding of how science relates to the world they live in. Students present their results, using the scientific method, to the Kent Place community on Expo night.

Eighth graders Rebecca Flitcroft, Paige Altrui and Libby Sanna use a Vernier probe interface to discover frictional forces.

Most students work with partners, and it is exciting to see the enthusiasm they put into their final presentation to family, friends, faculty and staff. Since they collaborate with each other and work together for over six weeks, the final product is one that contains more depth and intensity than if each student navigated through the experiment, invention or method on her own.

At the beginning of the year in all science classes there is a review of the tools of science, including equipment used in labs, the metric system of units, lab safety and the scientific method. Each year builds on the information learned in the previous year, expanding it to meet the needs of that particular branch of science.

The sixth grade life science curriculum centers upon four units. First, students learn the basic building blocks of life with the table of elements and the cell. Students then learn how the elements work together in the structure and function of plant life.This unit includes an experimental element that gives students the opportunity to choose a particular plant part with which to experiment.

The effects of a specific change on that particular part of the plant are questioned, studied and presented at Science Expo. After Expo, the curriculum turns to the third unit on animal diversity and the fourth on the human body. Throughout the year, students learn to observe, ask questions and work in teams to find answers to those questions.

Seventh grade students embark on a study of the earth: what is in it, what is around it and what is beyond it.The three main units are plate tectonics, including a study of rocks and minerals, the atmosphere, including climate and weather, and astronomy, which includes a study of our solar system, the Milky Way galaxy and the universe beyond.

Teacher Gracemarie Cirino-Warren shows sixth graders Sara Ramaswamy and Elizabeth Peinado how to prepare a slide for microscope viewing.

For Science Expo, students show their independent thinking as they develop an invention that is designed to assist with one of our current environmental issues. Students address various topics by using their creativity and collaborative skills to invent a way to replace non-renewable energy sources with renewable ones.

Middle School science culminates in eighth grade with physical science. Students begin by studying and building amusement park rides based on Newton’s laws of motion.They go on to the study of the physical and chemical composition of matter by observing and questioning the diversity of matter and its interactions. At Expo, eighth grade students present the results of their research with an experiment that focuses on the nature of matter.

Throughout their three years in the Middle School, students are encouraged to think like scientists: to observe, to ask questions and to use a logical method of seeking the answers to those questions. All the topics studied build on concepts that encourage the students to make connections.

Madeleine Anton, Kara Schachter and Marshea Robinson sing the cell song in their sixth grade science class.

Inquiry learning helps students to see science not as something that occurs in a classroom for 40 minutes a day but as a way of understanding their relationship to the world. Making connections will help students be aware and appreciative of the world of science that they deal with every day and anxious to use science to make the earth and its surroundings better for themselves, their children and future generations.

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Kent Place Science Expo: Students as Scientists By Maura Crowe, Middle School Science and Math Teacher Each winter, Middle School students at Kent Place School embark on a scientific adventure of discovery known as the Science Expo.This annual event showcases the amazing experiments and inventions created by the students in the months prior to Expo night.The goal is to help students put into practice some of the scientific knowledge they have studied. Doing so allows the students to expand their knowledge of a subject that personally interests them and gives them the opportunity to share their discoveries with others.

Beginning in January and culminating in early March, the classrooms are transformed into research laboratories in which the entire experimental process takes place. Students learn the importance of selecting relevant yet practical topics and fine-tuning these selections, just as professional scientists do when competing for research funds.They use inquiry learning to design their experiment.This method encourages active problem solving and engagement. In this way, students communicate and translate the science behind the project.

While learning about science is at the heart of Science Expo, participation in this process helps students to develop additional valuable abilities such as research, writing and presentation skills. Similar to how scientists are recognized for their contributions to the field, students are presented with awards in the areas of collaboration, design, problem solving, creativity, perseverance, innovation and scientific methodology.

Seventh graders Caroline Rosen and Katherine Uhlman at Science Expo 2008.

Each grade level explores a different area of concentration, reflective of their scientific disciplines.With a focus on life sciences, projects in the sixth grade revolve around plant experimentation. Students focus on successfully executing the steps of the scientific method while learning about plant development and photosynthesis.They learn the importance of data collection and result interpretation.

In light of current environmental issues such as global warming, water pollution and loss of biodiversity, seventh grade students are asked to use their earth science knowledge to create an original invention to help with one of these issues.This project assesses their understanding of the conservation of the Earth’s resources while conveying practical experience regarding electricity, recycling and renewable resources.

With a concentration on physical science, eighth grade students are asked to research and conduct experiments that will allow them to further their knowledge on the nature of matter. In order to examine how matter behaves, this project gives the students the opportunity to select topics relevant to their personal lives. By doing so, the students will broaden their understanding of matter and apply science concepts to real-world situations.

While Kent Place students devote a great deal of time and energy to presenting their findings at Science Expo, the rewards are tremendous. Students gain an increased awareness of the importance of science in their lives and have the chance to investigate areas of interest that add to their growing knowledge base. In order to make educated decisions in our everyday lives, it is essential that we all have sufficient science literacy.The

Seventh graders Charlotte Moore and Elizabeth McGraw at Science Expo 2008.

Science Expo gives students the opportunity to expand their own literacy about the world around them.


Science Department

(standing, l to r) Leslie Jones-Wentz, Maura Crowe, Jenna Sumner, Gracemarie Cirino-Warren, Andrea Lauerman,Wendy Hall, Barbara-Jane Turick, Jerry Vella; (seated l to r) Heather Lukeman, Elizabeth Fantagone and Rebecca Van Ry

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Gracemarie Cirino-Warren Grade 6 Life Science Years at KPS: 4 Maura Crowe Grade 7 Earth Science, Grade 8 Geometry Years at KPS: 2 Elizabeth Fantagone Physics, AP Physics Years at KPS: 12 Wendy Hall Grade 8 Physical Science Department Chair Years at KPS: 3 Leslie Jones-Wentz Grade 1 & 2 Science, Grade 3-5 Women’s Life Studies Assistant PS Librarian Years at KPS: 8

Andrea Lauerman Biology, Chemistry, AP Environmental Science, Biomedical Issues Years at KPS: 3 Heather Lukeman Chemistry, AP Chemistry Years at KPS: 2 Jenna Sumner Anatomy & Physiology Years at KPS: 2 Barbara-Jane Turick Biology, AP Biology Years at KPS: 1 Rebecca Van Ry Grade 3-5 Science Years at KPS: 8 Jerry Vella Upper School Physics Years at KPS: 2

upper school

Think Science. Think Technology. Think About Your World: Science in the Upper School By Elizabeth Fantagone, Upper School Science Teacher

“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” — Carl Sagan

Competition in the Water Cube at the August Beijing Olympics was a contest not only among worldclass swimmers, but also their swimsuits. Speedo and NASA engineers are now using wind tunnels to develop fabrics that reduce resistance on a swimmer’s body.Will equipment and technology become as important as human skill? So many of the issues defining our recent elections centered upon our dependence on foreign oil and the need for clean fuels.These are exciting times in our history, and there can be no doubt that scientific literacy is now more important than ever before.

Sophomores Amanda Kusnierz and Samantha Klein use spectroscopes to view an atomic line spectrum.

Our path begins, of course, with providing in each subject a body of knowledge and a method of scientific inquiry. Students in the life sciences study the fundamental life processes of plants and animals and a variety of chemical reactions that occur in specialized areas of an organism’s cells.

After the study of ecology and Seniors Alexandra Hariri and Julia Sann measure the acceleration due to evolution, freshman students have Biology teacher Barbara-Jean Turick gives a lecture to Upper School students. gravity in a physics class. the opportunity to visit the Marine Sciences Consortium at Sandy Hook, where they perform various experiments and activities to learn Science at Liberty Science Center, and many have been involved in internabout biodiversity and population changes. Many of our students elect ships or have taken additional science courses through universities such as Advanced Placement biology, in which these ideas are studied in greater Johns Hopkins and Brown. depth and where more sophisticated instrumentation is used. Discussions on important topics such as the role of DNA in forensic science and the nature Each year students have been selected to participate in the Governor’s of stem cells can be analyzed and understood in greater depth. School of New Jersey in the sciences, the environment and engineering and technology. Class of 2008 graduate Linda Chang, who worked for eight The physical sciences include chemistry and physics, and extensive knowledge weeks at the Veterans’ Affairs Health Care Center as part of Partners in of these fields is so important in understanding our place in the world and the Science, notes,“The summer program affirmed the fact that scientific global economy. Students study the biological, chemical and physical properresearch is exactly what I want to do with my life.” ties of matter, its conservation, how energy is exchanged and transformed in all chemical reactions and the physical changes of matter. Students can employ Senior Nicole Coscolluella, who spent time at the Institute of Oceanography new technology such as Vernier lab probes to perform laboratory activities in Acadia, ME, two summers ago, says,“I know I wanted to work in the more easily and see data, graphs and trends in “real time.” sciences.What I found is that I definitely want a career that includes field work – not just sitting and writing at a desk.” Conversation topics in class these days will include lithium-ion batteries, which will enable the production of an affordable electric car by 2010. The Kent Place Science Department mission and philosophy have always Discussions about the need for and the risks of nuclear power will become been to provide a sound foundation in the sciences and an appreciation for more necessary as we look for alternative energy sources. Pertinent websites and a commitment to the world we live in. In fact, more than 90 percent of and technology enhance our study of these timely and important ideas. A Kent Place students take four or more years of science, including physics, number of AP chemistry and physics students, excited by these ideas, hope compared to the 47 percent of American high school students nationally to accept the challenges of the future and pursue careers in science and who study physics. engineering. The Science National Honor Society, established at Kent Place in 2005, Chemistry, physics and environmental science are helping us tap into the recently inducted 24 new members who will serve students through world we live in today, but students also enjoy some lighter moments during tutoring in all science subjects, offer feedback and advice to the Middle the year.The Upper School was treated to Environmental Jeopardy on Earth School Science Expo and invite alumnae in the field of science to return to Day, chemistry classes celebrated “mole” day and, later in the year, made ice Kent Place and share their experiences. cream, and physics classes built roller coasters and performed related activiIn the new Upper School Academic Center, we will have an additional laboties on Physics Day at Six Flags Great Adventure. ratory, more sophisticated technology, larger learning spaces and an indeOpportunities throughout the science program have led students in a variety pendent research lab. Interested students will be able to pursue of directions for further study. Several girls throughout the school year experimental design and advanced study here at Kent Place. participate at NJIT’s Science and Technology Enrichment Program (STEP), in It is exciting for us to be learning and growing along with our students. At all which they can investigate engineering, chemistry and game theory. A levels, science is being taught with awareness to our roles as concerned number of students participate in the medical careers program at the citizens and stewards in our global world, equipped with necessary informaUniversity of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. tion and decision-making skills.We want our students to have curiosity, skepA few students are selected each year based on a written essay and test to ticism, open-mindedness, honesty, knowledge and an appreciation of science participate in the Columbia Saturday Scholars program in which advanced as a truly human endeavor. courses are taken with current Columbia University faculty at the Manhattan campus. Each summer, several students have been chosen to be Partners in Page 7


New Technology to Answer Students’ Probing Questions By Heather Lukeman, Upper School Science Teacher The cornerstone of a Kent Place science education is our emphasis on inquiry-based learning. Kent Place students in all three divisions will now use Vernier probeware, tools manufactured and marketed specifically for educational use, to enhance the learning process and prepare them for more sophisticated science work at the university level and beyond.

Before this year, lab probes were available only to science students in the Upper School. Now, as simpler and more robust probe models have been developed, interest has grown for younger learners to have access to more advanced lab equipment. For the 2008-2009 school year, the Primary and Middle Schools acquired probes to measure oxygen and carbon dioxide gas levels, temperature, pH, humidity and motion.

Lesson plans this year include the use of temperature probes for more accurate temperature measurements during study of convection, conduction and radiation. New pH probes will allow students to study the effect of acid rain on plant growth. Some of the probes for the younger students will operate as standalone measurement units while the Middle School and Upper School probes are intended to interface with calculators and computers for more sophisticated data analysis. Upper School science classes have incorporated probeware experiments for years.With more functions available in Vernier tools and with more interest demonstrated throughout the department, we are expanding the use of these probes.

using state-of-the-art school lab software. And as we integrate probes with laptops, students no longer have to spend time hand graphing or on data entry to a standalone graphing program.

For many Vernier lab experiThe Vernier Lab Pro Interface allows the probe to transmit data to the laptop. ments, graphs are preformatted with appropriate scales and labels with options to add more as desired. For AP chemistry students, the ability to manipulate raw data to create and plot calculated variables automatically saves much time and allows time for the more important work of analyzing data and forming conclusions.

Students now see the trends and relationships during the experiment, no longer waiting till the data is plotted minutes or days after the experiment. Discrepancies can be identified immediately so that results, equipment and procedures can be discussed, checked and possibly altered to achieve the experimental goal.

classes use the probes to determine eChemistry freezing and boiling points as well as to understand the pressure/volume relationship of gases. Starting this year, chemistry classes also intend to use temperature probes to explore energy changes in reactions.

Advanced Placement (AP) chemistry experiments eincorporate several types of probes. Students use temperature, gas pressure, pH, colorimeters, conductivity and voltage probes to determine energy changes for reactions, rate constants, equilibrium constants, unknown concentrations and reduction potentials.

environmental science students will, for the eAP first time, use carbon dioxide gas sensors for Sophomores Hannah Benn, Amanda Kusnierz, Malina Welman and Samantha Klein use a Vernier temperature probe to determine the climate change labs and oxygen gas sensors for enthalpy change of a reaction. photosynthesis and respiration studies. Temperature and pH meters are also expected to be helpful in the annual water quality field trip, as the For creative teachers and students, the future holds the integration of video data can be obtained remotely and then downloaded to the technology into the scientific process.The day is not far off when students students’ laptops for in-depth analysis. will submit video lab reports instead of paper reports, requiring a far deeper understanding of the material to explain what and why things are happening Biology students will have opportunities to use carbon – while allowing free rein on creativity. dioxide gas sensors for climate change labs and oxygen gas As a leader in science education for young women, the Kent Place Science sensors for photosynthesis and respiration studies. Heart Department is thrilled to offer cutting-edge school lab technology for our rate monitors can be used in anatomy and physiology to younger students for the first time and to expand technology use in our check real cardiac performance during various activities Upper School curriculum.We believe that introducing girls early to this techagainst expected ranges from the textbook. nology will get them excited not only about science class but for careers in Physics and AP physics students have a variety of new tools science and technology. as well. Motion-sensing probes will confirm Galileo’s experiment about uniform acceleration down a ramp. Photogates will help students understand freefall acceleration.Voltage and current probes will help students explore electricity and magnetism.



With our new Vernier probes, huge quantities of data are obtained and displayed visually in real time – registering and storing up to 50,000 readings per second. Student data accuracy no longer depends entirely on the student’s perspective as she reads a thermometer scale or struggles to take measurements at certain time intervals.Time intervals can be much shorter with the user setting the frequency of sampling. She can see changes as they happen and not miss the exact moment that a change occurs because data obtained manually is taken less frequently. Our students are making the leap from textbook lab process to dynamic experimentation.

Students learn about the relationships between data points through graphing. As we all learned to do, KPS girls start out plotting graphs on graph paper and hand-calculate the trends.We found, however, that once students understand how to draw a graph by hand, the graphing process itself offers few additional benefits.With the Vernier probes, data is automatically graphed

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Eighth grader Virginia Saylor uses a Labquest to collect real-time data in her science class.

Upper Schoolers Tackle Impressive Science Internships and Programs Addison Benthien, Grade 11 Acadia Institute of Oceanography

Neena Bitritto-Garg, Grade 12

Holly Goodman, Grade 12

Corey Szumski, Grade 12

Addie participated in a two-week marine biology course in Acadia, ME, preparing laboratory reports and analysis of her fieldwork, which included the Somes Sound Water Survey.

Summer Academy for Applied Science & Technology, University of Pennsylvania

During the three-week intensive program, Holly focused her attention on robotics, which introduced her to the state-of-the-art developments in robotics, manufacturing and automation. Her experience culminated in making a mobile robot that could be teleported with limited onboard autonomy.

Ednah Nwafor, Grade 12

University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey

Ednah, together with a group of college and high school students, completed research in the family medicine division of the university’s psychology department. Ednah’s research focused on the effectiveness of the SMART program, an outreach program for underrepresented minorities in the field of math and science.

Amy Tourgee, Grade 11 Brown University

Amy attended a three-week science program in which she focused on DNA-based biotechnology. In the laboratory she manipulated DNA and combined genes and discussed the controversial use of biotechnology in the modern world.

Prospect Biosystems, Inc.

Neena worked in a branch of biology known as proteomics, in which she studied the separation of proteins at speeds of over 95,000 rotations per minute. Neena used a special centrifuge, designed by Prospect Biosystems, in her research to test the presence of certain protein markers in rat organs. Neena’s discoveries will be published in a scientific journal within the next year.

Columbia University/ Stevens Institute of Technology

At Columbia, Corey learned about physical effects on cells in a biomedical engineering class, which included labs on osmotic loading, cell encapsulation and a flow chamber cell adhesion assay. At Stevens, she participated in the Exploring Career Options in Engineering and Science program, featuring lectures on physics and naval, systems, biomedical and chemical engineering.

Emily Wang, Grade 9

Johns Hopkins Summer Camp, Lafayette College

For three weeks, Emily attended chemistry classes exploring topics such as matter, atomic structure and chemical bonding.Through her lab work, Emily learned the complex concepts of chemical reactions and thermodynamics.

Wambui Ngari, Grade 12

National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine, Georgetown University During the 10-day program,Wambui was able to walk through the process of applying for medical school and residency, talk to numerous medical professionals and experience mockdisaster scenarios, such as triage.

Jessica Myers, Grade 12

Julia Sann, Grade 12

Jessica’s studio assignment was to use the creative method of abstraction from life to design an outdoor space for reading and rest. She visited numerous museums and architecture and construction firms and attended lectures on the theory of design and sustainability in architecture.

Volunteering as a cadet, Julia was trained in First Aid, CPR, the use of automated external defibrillators and other requirements. Julia rode in the ambulance with trained emergency medical technicians, responding to emergencies throughout New Providence. Julia served as an assistant in the back of the rig, bandaging wounds or handing equipment to paramedics.

Architecture Discovery Program at Washington University in St. Louis

New Providence Rescue Squad

Turn the page for more... Page 9

Upper Schoolers Tackle Impressive Science Internships and Programs

Cassidy Bommer, Grade 12 Morristown Memorial Hospital

Cassidy observed over 50 surgeries during her internship with the chairman of the surgery department at Morristown Memorial and was able to assist at times by providing suction or cutting sutures. Cassidy researched the culture of safety in the OR by writing and distributing surveys to over 115 members of the OR staff and was also able to work in the trauma bay in the ER.

Speakers Series SAVE THE DATE

Thursday, April 23, 2009 at 7:30 p.m. Hyde & Watson Theatre

Stay tuned to in late January for our speaker announcement!

Amanda Walker, Grade 11 Amanda attended the medicine and healthcare section of the 10-day conference in Washington, D.C. In addition to learning how to be an effective leader in the healthcare field and viewing a dissected cadaver, Amanda participated in discussions on such topics as animal testing and robotics.

Aditi Memani, Grade 12

Biomedical Academy, University of Pennsylvania

For four weeks during the summer, Aditi attended lectures discussing major diseases that are being researched in the medical field and participated in labs that gave her opportunities to learn techniques such as finding blood type through DNA, analyzing cancer cells and dissecting different parts of the human body. Aditi also participated in graduate research, determining the difference of how drugs, such as marijuana and cocaine, affect males and females.


Girls’ Leadership Institute JULY 26-30, 2009


Alexandra Hariri, Grade 12 Pilot/Celgene Corporation

On April 7, 2008, Alex received her pilot’s license, making her the youngest pilot in the country that day.Through her flying she has spent time with William Readdy, one of the world’s greatest astronauts, who encouraged her to think about aerospace as a career. Alex spent the summer interning at Celgene, working in the groundbreaking field of microRNA expression in stem cells.

Olivia Norrmen-Smith, Grade 12 Shadowing Pediatric Oncologist

Olivia shadowed Dr. Roberta H. Adams, a pediatric oncologist, who specializes in bone marrow transplants (BMTs) and founded the BMT Program at Phoenix Children's Hospital. Olivia met with the majority of the BMT outpatients and was able to see first hand the aggressiveness of various forms of leukemia and other hematological diseases. Olivia also worked in the emergency department, the pharmacy and in pathology and shadowed a nutritionist and physical therapist.

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For more information on GLI visit or call (908) 273-0900, ext. 266.


Lead America Conference

From Arctic Drilling to Zirconium Mining: Environmental Science Focuses on Current Issues By Andrea Lauerman, Upper School Science Teacher

AP environmental students Addison Benthein '10 and Cassidy Bommer '09 examine the primary productivity of grass plants as compared to a natural ecosystem.

Seniors Marissa Guthrie and Sarah Livingston complete biological and chemical water testing at the Passaic River.

Environmental issues are more prominent than ever in our daily lives. One cannot even enter a department store without being bombarded with the eco-friendly claims of different products. Often, when we see these claims or read newspaper headlines, we don’t know how to filter out the facts from the editorializing that accompanies them. In a world where our actions have such lasting impacts, however, it is essential that we be able to do just that. AP environmental science prepares the girls to deal with environmental issues outside of the classroom.

“Water testing was so fun!” said senior Caroline O’Neill.“It was so interesting to apply the concepts outside of the classroom.”

Each month students collect news articles that pertain to the course and collect them in a research scrapbook.They analyze these articles and share their findings with the class. “The news scrapbooks,” said senior Tristan Chace,“allow all of us to be in tune with what's going on with today's environmental problems.”

By centering our discussions on current events, it is made clear that environmental science is not a pursuit that occurs only in labs but also informs policy and decision-making at the highest levels.


Getting out of the lab and into the world around us is an important goal for the curriculum.We begin the year with a trip to a tributary of the Passaic River to conduct a water quality analysis.The girls test the chemistry, bacterial composition and invertebrate diversity of the river.The data they obtain through this activity is novel scientific material that they analyze to arrive at an estimated index for water quality.We then discuss the potential causes and effects of pollution in our local environment.

At the end of the year, we again get out of the lab by taking a look in the mirror. Each student completes a full assessment of her personal energy use. It is easy to spend a great deal of time talking about pollution and pollution control without adequately considering how we contribute to the problem and how we can help.This is an opportunity to reflect on how we impact the planet. “The energy audits showed the class how much energy we use on a daily basis,” said senior Samantha Jones,“and helped point out the small things we can do to make a major impact on our environment.”

To supplement this project, the new Academic Center will be equipped with sensors measuring our electrical, water and gas outputs that will allow us to monitor data in real time. Students will be able to pull up data on their laptops or visit a special kiosk to retrieve data or learn more about the building they occupy: our LEED certification, recycling center and windpower information.The building itself will be used as another teaching tool. “Without taking this course, I really wouldn't know what climate change is,” said senior Allison Goldberg.“It exposed me to current issues and inspired me to help out by conserving water and energy, as well as encouraging others to do the same.”

the Science National Honor Society? Having adopted its charter in 2005, Kent Place became one of only 341 Science National Honor Society chapters in the country and one of 19 high schools in the state of New Jersey. Established in 2000, the Science National Honor Society (SNHS) strives to be the prominent scientific organization that engenders a new group of young thinkers who will be the future of industry, research and scientific exploration for America.

Members of SNHS are most commonly inducted at the end of their junior year.To become a member, a student must have taken at least three science classes and received an A or above in a non-Advanced Placement course and an A- or above in an Advanced Placement course.

For the 2008-2009 school year, Kent Place has an impressive group of 24 members. Members of the 2008-2009 Science National Honor Society with As per their charter, KPS members offer tutoring in all science subjects and host advisor Elizabeth Fantagone. group study sessions for biology and chemistry. Members also attend the Middle School Science Expo to offer feedback and advice to the young girls. Each year, the society invites at least one woman, typically a Kent Place alumna, to speak to members of the group.This year, they hope to host an all-Upper School speaker in the sciences as well.

“I have a great passion for science, and SNHS gives me the opportunity to come together with other students who love science. Many members of SNHS, including myself, are hoping to pursue a career in science and this society gives us the opportunity to learn more about potential careers, while also sharing our love of science with the entire school,” said senior and SNHS president Cassidy Bommer.

Through the vision of Cassidy and her fellow members, the Kent Place Science National Honor Society hopes to become an even larger presence in the Upper School. Plans include combining science with community service to complete multiple projects that will promote a love for science in the Kent Place community and beyond.

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with Wendy Hall

Chair of the Science Department and Middle School Science Teacher

Wendy Hall

Certifications, colleges, degrees:

BA, physical education, Indiana University; MA, science education, Fairleigh Dickinson University; KPS since 2006.

What is your background?

I grew up in the Midwest, and my family moved around a lot, so I don’t have a hometown, but I consider my home state Indiana. I pursued a physical education degree because I knew I wanted to coach and be the kind of role model that I was fortunate enough to have.While pursuing my degree I discovered I had a real passion for the sciences of physical education.To this day, my all-time favorite class was anatomy. I went on to study physiology and kinesiology, and both classes were equally intriguing. After a few years of teaching physical education, I was compelled to pursue a deeper knowledge of the sciences and enrolled in a science education master’s program. I’ve been teaching science for 11 years, and I can’t imagine doing anything else.

What is your primary responsibility as the chair of the Science Department?

My primary responsibility as the chair of the Science Department is to work with the administration and the teachers of science to implement a science program that promotes science literacy.

What classes do you teach?

I teach eighth grade physical science, and I advise the Middle School Environmental Club.

Why did you choose to work at Kent Place?

Throughout my career, I was confronted with the fact that the research showed that girls were not pursuing the science fields. I am so passionate about science, and I wanted to use that passion to excite girls about science.

What do you enjoy most about your role?


A ?


What I enjoy most about being the Science Department chair is working with an extraordinary team of teachers committed to developing a passion for science among the KPS students.

What has impressed you most about Kent Place science students?

KPS girls have a desire to learn and understand the world around them. Every week the girls amaze me with their questions. I love to be challenged this way and, in turn, I love to challenge the girls to ask these questions.

Why is science cool?

Science is cool because you can relate it to anything you do, see, touch, think, hear, smell and taste. Science explains the world.The wonder and discovery on a personal level never ends! Every day you can discover something new that seems so simple and ordinary. For instance, have you ever thought about how incredible it is that humans can climb stairs? Or that the eye doesn’t really see but rather it interprets light.The WOW factor is endless.

Do you have a favorite scientist?

As a kid I was in awe of the NASA program – the whole idea that scientists could design a rocket to take man to the moon was so amazing to me. As an adult, I am in awe of geneticists.The Human Genome Project and the new technologies for gene therapy and biological engineering is exciting, it’s cutting edge and scary all at the same time, just like the space program was when I was a kid.

What’s an interesting fact or story about you that your students wouldn’t know?

Most of my students wouldn’t know that in my 20s and 30s I was a huge outdoor adventurer. Just to name a few adventures: I’ve rappelled down waterfalls in Costa Rica; rock climbed 200-foot multi-pitch cliffs; was 900 feet short of summiting Mt. Rainier in a blizzard; tracked grizzly bears in Glacier National Park; biked over 300 miles around Ireland; and backpacked for over 30 days in the Pacific Northwest. I wouldn’t say I was ever a thrill-seeker, but it was always the challenge that enticed me.There is nothing like living in the outdoors for weeks at a time. Life becomes very simple but at the same time very challenging. The experiences I had on these trips taught me more about myself and the importance of trusting others than anything I have ever done. I also returned from each trip with a new-found respect for nature and a real sense of pride for what I had accomplished.

June 15 through August 14

OPEN HOUSE: Saturday • March 7, 2009 • 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. • Field House GROUP TOURS: Tuesdays • March 31, April 28, May 26, 2009 • 4:00 p.m. • Field House

For more information on Summer Explorations visit: or call: (908) 273-0900 ext. 272.

summer explorations 2009 AT KENT PLACE

June Fun Summer Express Summer Start-up Pre-K Camp Junior Camp Day Camp Passport Program Creative Arts Workshop Counselor-in-Training Afternoon Sports Excel Success for Girls Extended Care

Page 12

Check Out Our New Digs! A glimpse at our "almost completed" university-level labs in the Academic Center

Biology Lab

Environmental Studies Lab

Chemistry Lab

Each lab station includes a snorkel hood which allows students to do more experiments by removing fumes from chemical reactions.

everything art

Two fume hoods with ventilation, natural gas and water allows students to conduct experiments that require gas or all of those utilities together.

Boxes of equipment waiting to be unpacked.

Come join us for a celebration of our school and

at the Kent Place Café des Artistes

SPRING FLING • Saturday, April 25, 2009 • Field House

Page 13


News & Views

Native Americans Past and Present: An Interdisciplinary Unit of Study By Sally Snyder, Maria Pavlou, Melissa Wood, Rebecca Van Ry, Sue Tracy and Kari Cooper, Primary School Teachers

At Kent Place, the social studies curriculum in the Primary years aims at providing students the skills to understand who they are in this everchanging world.

Early childhood years focus on self, the family and local community. Students begin to transition away from this in first grade, when they study the family and personal heritage first before exploring foreign cultures.The second grade social studies curriculum involves an entire year devoted to the study of cultures from around the world, asking,What is culture? What influences the beliefs and customs of a given culture? In the past, the third grade study followed with an in-depth look at the Native American culture in order to better understand some of the underpinnings of the story of the United States.This then led into the U.S. history focus of fourth and fifth grade social studies. But, as the third grade team analyzed its approach to teaching of Native Nations, they realized that their third grade curriculum was missing a key element of the story of Native Americans in the U.S.:What happens when two cultures meet.

Over the summer, thanks to a Halsey Grant, several third grade teachers had the opportunity to update key elements of their social studies curriculum. Classroom teachers Maria Pavlou and Sally Snyder, along with specialists Kari Cooper (drama), Sue Tracy (technology), Rebecca Van Ry (science) and Melissa Wood (art), updated the approach to how they teach students about the various Native Nations.

The third grade team endeavored to shape a program that is both accurate and sensitive to cultural issues that have been previously ignored in Primary School units on Native Americans.They chose three guiding questions for their year-long study of Native Americans: I Who was here before Columbus?

I What happened when Columbus came?

I What can we learn from the history of the interaction between Native Americans and European settlers?

These guiding questions were created to break down the year-long study of the Native Americans into three mini-units. Each unit focuses on the development of three basic critical thinking skills and concepts:

Thanks to a generous donation from last year’s parent fundraiser Spring Fling, the third grade worked with naturalist and Native American expert Jeff Gottlieb. Mr. Gottlieb was on campus for several days in October instructing students on traditional native building techniques and various Woodland crafts and tools while constructing a life-size wigwam. Once constructed, the wigwam provided students with a hands-on, year-round laboratory exploration of Woodland culture, supporting activities such as tool building and food preparation. What happened when Columbus came? After studying each region, the students then analyze the effect of European exploration in North America.They begin with Columbus and then look at some of the explorers who followed, as well as some of the early settlements, such as Roanoke and Jamestown, and their relation to the Native American tribes of the area. During their research, they touch on some of the hardships endured by Native people, including wars, the Trail of Tears and forced removal to reservations.This unit lends itself to an exploration of successful conflict resolutions, an awareness of cultural differences and discussions about how people can coexist in peace. What can we learn from the history of the interaction between Native Americans and European settlers? The year culminates with a current study of Native Americans.We look at the influences of many Native Americans from the past 10 to 15 years.We also discuss similarities and differences between Native American life of today and in pre-contact eras.Throughout this study, the students will partake in critical thinking activities as they explore various stereotypes of Native Americans and how these stereotypes influence Native American life today.

Throughout each unit, teachers work together to coordinate their lessons, and they allow the girls to experience interdisciplinary learning at its best. Using a combination of written text, oral tradition and hands-on experiences, the girls are immersed in a year-long study of our country’s early history and how these cultures have grown, changed, suffered and benefited from the change that has resulted from the introduction of European cultures to the New World.The curriculum is fluid, with ideas, visiting artists and field trip experiences changing yearly. It is proving to be a rich, challenging and exciting unit of study for all.

I The ability to identify and recognize stereotypes

I The recognition of points of view and their role in how we learn

I An understanding of both effective and ineffective conflict resolution tools

Who was here before Columbus? In this unit, the first of the three guiding questions, we focus on one tribe from each of four regions: the Eastern Woodlands, the Plains, the Southwest, and the Northwest Coast.We look at these cultures as they existed before contact with Europeans, focusing on how the tribes of each region used the natural resources available to them and the inter-tribal relationships that influenced each culture. Our central focus is on the Lenni Lenape tribe of New Jersey.

Toni Ann Iuzzolino pounded a stake to ready the ground for a cedar pole.

Page 14

The girls used sharp rocks to scrape off the bark on the cedar poles to extend the life of the wigwam frame.

The third graders celebrate the creation of their wigwam.

Mr. Gottlieb needed a few strong third graders to hold a cedar pole while he lashed it to the frame.

Anjolie Charlot and Mamie Ziegler carried reed bundles to the wigwam.

Cracking the Code: Sixth Grade Math Elective Explores Probability By Jim Doherty, Chair of the Mathematics Department and Upper School Mathematics Teacher For the 2008-2009 academic year, the Kent Place School Math Department is excited to offer a new experience for some of our sixth grade students.

The Middle School schedule has seen a revision this year with the introduction of Chinese language study and the inclusion of a trimester-long Latin course.The presence of this trimester course opened up the possibility of other academic offerings in that same spot in the Middle School schedule.The Math Department was excited to seize this opportunity to create an elective course.

In the past two years our Primary School math specialist Maureen Kroeger has been working with our Primary students not only to reinforce mathematical concepts but also to create enrichment opportunities for students who have been excelling in their math work.With a talented group of rising sixth grade students in mind, we worked with Mrs. Kroeger to develop a trimester elective course that meets twice a week. Rosalie Intartaglia teaches this class. Ms. Intartaglia is our sixth grade math teacher, and she also teaches a section of introduction to algebra and geometry, which is the math class for the majority of our seventh grade students.

you finally finish a problem, you are ecstatic because you worked so hard to get there. The most enjoyable class activity was learning about the Caesar codes. It was almost like it was the key to saving the world, figuring out the code was a map to a treasure.”

Middle School students use a "communicator" to solve math problems in class.

Alexa Corey, Kelsey Jain and Orna Madigan work together to solve a problem.

Added fellow classmate Carly Mantay,“I love the math elective because it gives you a new perspective on problem solving.You learn new things, and it helps you improve your skills.

The course was taught in the first trimester and will be repeated in the second trimester. We are doing this so that students who did not have room in their schedule the first trimester, or those who were not quite sure whether this was the course for them, have another opportunity to find space in their schedule for this experience. In the third trimester, we will have a new curriculum that will touch on other ideas, and girls who were enrolled in either of the first two trimesters have an opportunity to opt for a second enrollment in our mathematics elective. "We are fortunate to be able to provide our students with this type of opportunity," said Ms. Intartaglia. "The elective allows us to continue to inspire young women in math.”

Since this is an elective class, we encourage the girls who qualify and opt for the class to explore their passion for mathematics.We use this course as an opportunity for extended exploration, for hands-on experiments and for extended conversations within a group of girls that has a shared interest in, and aptitude for, mathematics.

Ms. Intartaglia and the girls in the class started the year with an extended exploration of probability.They have explored the way that we can code information, such as in the encryption of personal and banking information transferred via ATM networks.The girls in this class have the opportunity to spend days digging deeply into these ideas and to experiment with novel problem-solving ideas.

"I especially enjoyed learning about the Morse Code," remarked sixth grader Kelsey Jain. "I found this code interesting because I was so surprised that many people knew it. Codes are fun to crack, but sometimes they can be difficult.”

We are excited that the interest in mathematics, and the thirst for more mathematical opportunities, is such that we are able to support this course in our Middle School, and we look forward to more of the rich conversations and discoveries that are already occurring in this class.

Elizabeth Peinado and Monika Paliwoda try to crack a code during class.

"I love the math elective because it is a fun and challenging class and everyone helps each other," explained sixth grader Orna Madigan. "When

Sixth graders Monika Poliwoda, Rachel Cohen and Betsy Peinado encoded the following sentence. Can you crack it using the Caesar cipher?

23-9-20-8 23-9-19-4-15-13 19-8-5 12-9-7-8-20-19 20-8-5 23-1-25

Answer: With Wisdom She Lights the Way First graders watched Mr. Gottlieb inspecting the wigwam frame.

Olivia Kranefuss, Polly McCumber, Molly Lohuis and Rose Chrin took one last look outside before the walls were complete.

Mr. Gottlieb and a few third graders attached the reed door.

Olivia Kranefuss, Jessica Brice and Paige Williams tied up the reed door so all can enter the wigwam.

Page 15


Multicultural Education: From Accidental to Intentional By Michael Buensuceso, Director of Diversity New Jersey leads the nation in diversity. According to the 2000 census, our state ranked third in the percentage of population that was foreign born, functioning as a gateway state for new Americans. More than 26 percent of New Jersey residents speak one of 130 languages other than English. New Jersey is expected to gain 1.2 million people through immigration by 2025. These shifting demographic trends, in conjunction with changing social values and an increasingly global economy, have created racially, ethnically and spiritually pluralistic environments in our communities, workplaces and schools. Multicultural existence does not, however, translate directly to a multicultural consciousness.The next generation of leaders will need, more than ever before, to have the skills and understanding required to foster positive relationships across lines of difference. The National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME), founded in 1990, brings together individuals from all academic levels and disciplines and from diverse educational institutions, and other organizations, occupations and communities that have an interest in multicultural education. NAME defines multicultural education as “a process that permeates all aspects of school practices, policies and organization as a means to ensure the highest levels of academic achievement for all students.”

Multicultural education helps students develop a positive selfconcept by providing knowledge about the histories, cultures and contributions of diverse groups. It affirms our need to prepare students for their responsibilities in an interdependent world. It recognizes the role schools can play in developing the attitudes and values necessary for a democratic society. It values cultural differences and affirms the pluralism that students, their communities and teachers reflect.

Experiential learning and open dialogue are two methods used in multicultural education, and they have significant effects on students’ academic achievement, self-esteem and perceptions of others. As ways of meaningful and positive interaction with diverse individuals in an educational setting, these methods are crucial to critical thinking and intergroup harmony, and they prepare students with such skills as diplomacy and cooperation that help them successfully navigate within a diverse workforce.

When we build strong multicultural foundations for students in the way they learn and interact with others, cross-cultural learning extends beyond the classroom. Patricia Gurin, a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan, concludes that having interaction with diverse individuals both within and outside of the classroom stimulates intellectual discussion, motivates students to advance cultural awareness and cross-racial understanding and promotes long-term integrated cross-cultural relationships well into the adult years. She further concludes that students learn more and think in deeper, more complex ways in a diverse educational environment leading to a more heterogeneous workforce that is able to contribute more creative solutions to problems. Regarding the need for cross-cultural skills, the corporate environment concurs. In a recent issue of Industry Week, John Hauger, a vice president at Global Lead Management Consulting, commented,“Leaders and managers must have [cultural dexterity], the ability to move between various cultures and tailor their communication and problem-solving skills in a way that is comfortable for each culture.”

Adhering to principles of multicultural education throughout all grade levels will support our efforts to build cultural dexterity, giving our young women a competitive edge and preparing them for responsible participation in a global community.

Fall Season Highlights Upper School Academic Achievements

2007-2008 Advanced Placement Scholars

2009 National Merit Scholarship Program

National Scholar

Semi-Finalists Elizabeth Chrystal ’09, Hannah Kaplan ’09

Linda Chang ’08

AP Scholar with Distinction Paige Beaumont ’08, Lauren Brown ’08, Linda Chang ’08, Kerry Criss ’08, Taylor Dunbar ’08, Eliza Haburay-Herrling ’08, Meredith LaRose ’08, Ellen McMahon ’08, Hallie Mitnick ’08, Catherine Newcomb ’08, Kendall Peck ’08, Helen Roll ’08, Olivia Smith ’08, Leslie Wentworth ’08, Katherine Woodall ’08

AP Scholar with Honor Neena Bitritto-Garg ’09, Elizabeth Chrystal ’09, Emily Ciavarella ’09, Adrienne Cohen ’08, Katharine Cummins ’09, Sarah Gadsden ’09, Holly Goodman ’09, Alexandra Hariri ’09, Catherine Kishel ’09, Rachel (Petra) Lesser ’08, Donna Leung ’09, Alexandra McDonald ’09, Lauren Ortner ’08, Caroline Roberts ’09, Corey Szumski ’09, Eliza Zweig ’08

AP Scholars Alexandra Abend ’08, Alexandra Alpaugh ’09, Courtney Alpaugh ’09, Daniela Arias ’08, Emily Balzano ’08, Chelsea Baum ’08, Alexa Biale ’08, Georgia Bird ’08, Cassidy Bommer ’09, Carolyn Bradley ’09, Alexandra Brierley ’09, Ellen Chiu ’09, Marie Nicole Coscolluela ’09, Jill Doto ’08, Kristina Felder ’08, Amanda Grywalski ’09, Sharon Hoosein ’08, Hilary Hugin ’09, Kesi Irvin ’08, Hannah Kaplan ’09, Elizabeth Kennedy ’08, Caroline Kingsbery ’09, Rebecca Krom ’08, Molly Kunzman ’08, Allison Oberlander ’08, Christine Odenath ’08, Jacqueline O’Neill ’09, Cecelie Pikus ’09,Vanessa Rendon-Vasquez ’09, Sonia Saenz ’08, Logan Shanney ’09, Katherine Sheridan ’09, Pauline Shypula ’08, Lia Trangucci ’08, Katharine Weir ’08, Torrie Williams ’09

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Commended Students Alexandra Alpaugh ’09, Allison Beeman ’09, Cassidy Bommer ’09, Carolyn Bradley ’09, Emily Ciavarella ’09, Hilary Hugin ’09, Donna Leung ’09, Caroline Roberts ’09, Lindsey Robertson ’09, Andrea Ruda ’09, Katherine Sheridan ’09, Corey Szumski ’09, Torrie Williams ’09, Katharine Zeigler ’09

2009 National Achievement Scholarship Competition Participants Referred to Colleges and Universities Jessica Myers ’09,Wambui Ngari ’09

“We are proud that our students are affirmed by these organizations as they validate the purpose and meaning the girls find in learning here at Kent Place.” – Elizabeth Woodall, Director of the Upper School

The CAI Project: Ethics Institute Plans First Community-wide Project The Ethics Institute at Kent Place School, launched this year, is partnering with the Unitarian Church of Summit on an exciting project.Together, we will raise funds for the Central Asia Institute (CAI), a non-profit organization with the mission to promote and support community-based education, especially for girls, in remote regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan. The CAI ( builds schools in Central Asia, providing a balanced education, especially to girls, in areas where before there were only madrassas open to boys. Despite insurgencies, the Taliban regime and war, the CAI has established over 78 schools in rural and often volatile regions in Pakistan and Afghanistan, providing education to over 28,000 children, including 18,000 girls.

Greg Mortensen, the co-founder and executive director of CAI, is also the best-selling author of Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace…One School at a Time.Three Cups of Tea chronicles Mortensen’s attempt to climb Pakistan’s K2 and the people he met while recovering in a local village. During his recovery, he watched the village children sitting in the dirt writing with sticks in the sand. He then made a promise to help them build a school.

this spring.The ultimate goal will be to award Mr. Mortensen and the Central Asia Institute a check in the amount of $50,000 to support its activities.

“A big part of the Ethics Institute at Kent Place is tied in with our global initiatives and the need to bring awareness to the situations of girls in other parts of the world,” explains Dr. Karen Rezach, director of the Ethics Institute at Kent Place.“Our ethical responsibility is to help. One of the ways we can do that is to educate. By partnering with the Unitarian Church, an institution dedicated to girls’ leadership and global issues, we have the opportunity to do something not only for our school, but for the greater community.”

Senior and president of Community Service Alexandra McDonald adds, “Kent Place has three divisions, but we are one large community. An allschool project will give students from the Primary, Middle, and Upper divisions a chance to interact with each other while working towards a common goal. I also think this project will allow for open discussion about global problems.We are all extremely lucky to attend Kent Place and have the resources that allow us to succeed, and I think students sometimes forget that not everyone has the opportunities we have.There are areas around the world in which children are experiencing extreme poverty and oppression, and I think this project not only draws attention to the problem, but also offers a solution everyone can be a part of.”


The Ethics Institute and the Unitarian Church, together, have pledged to raise $50,000 to build a school and pay for its supplies and teachers for three years. Fundraising activities are to include Pennies for Peace (, a campaign CAI coordinates, and a Walk-a-Thon.

As the culminating activity for this exciting venture, Kent Place and the Unitarian Church have applied to bring Mr. Mortensen to speak on our campus

If you would like to donate to this project, please send a check made payable to Kent Place School and designate CAI Project in the note field. Checks can be mailed to Kent Place School,Attention Ethics Institute, 42 Norwood Avenue, Summit, NJ, 07902-0308. For more information, please contact Dr. Karen Rezach, director of the Ethics Institute, at (908) 273-0900, ext. 255 or Stay tuned to for the official launch of the Institute’s website in early 2009.

The Star 2008

Logan Shanney '09 thanks Chair of the Music Department and Director of The STAR, Edel Thomas on behalf of the Upper School.

The STAR 2008

Chamber Singers with the Upper School Chorus

Samantha Jakucionis '12, Amy Rowland '12 and Callie Deddens '10

Megan Malloy '10

Members of the Kent Place Orchestra

Seniors from Chamber Singers

Juniors Tara Nicola and Addison Benthien pass out programs before the performance.

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Upper School Fall Play: ART by Yasmina Reza

Corey Szumski ’09

ART cast

Eleanor Haglund ’12

Julia Sann ’09 and Emily Ciavarella ’09

Koby Omansky ’12

Jessica Myers ’09

Elizabeth Miggins ’11

Carolyn Hofmann ’12

Emily Ciavarella ’09

Chelsea Frankel ’09

Seventh Grade Fall Play: Twelfth Night

Elana Horowitz

Linden Clarke

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Mia Wright and cast

Denae Wilkins

Kendra Jain

Megan Landriau


Emily Kwan and Brianna Barrett

Grandparents and Special Friends Day & Primary Book Fair

Kindergartener Gabrielle Moore with her father Eric Moore, great aunt Jacquelyn Moore, godmother Renee MĂŠhuand and grandmother Brenda Moore

Kindergartener Alesia Paliwoda with grandmother Lidia Paliwoda

Guest author/illustrator Marissa Moss visited the Primary School as part of the Book Fair activities.

Fourth grader Gabrielle Branin with grandmother Joanne Branin

Third grader Megan Sanford and her "mimi" Susan Tofel

Fifth grader Claire Sannini with grandparents Mary and Ed Sannini and Mamie Frezzo

First grader Tyler Newman shares her work with grandmother Diane Oliver.

Third grader Paige Williams with grandparents Sandra and Art Williams

Pre-Kindergartener Vittoria Socolof with special friend Beata Bodnar

The Kent Place Pep Squad performed for students, faculty, grandparents and special friends at the Thanksgiving Assembly.

Third grader Julia McGrath with special friend Lane Adams

Seventh grader Elana Horowitz with her grandparents Rita and Jerome Horowitz

First grader Jaclyn Brice and her uncle Sidney Punter

Pre-Kindergartener Margaret Zachary with grandparents Louis and Lillie Zachary and Lois Wholey

Third grader Angela Maliakal and her uncle Sunila Chungath

Third grader Abigail Jonathan with her grandmother Kathleen Callahan

Grandparents, parents and students shopped the Primary School safari-themed Book Fair.

Seventh grader Allison Berger shares classtime with grandmother Frances Berger.

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Voyager Kent Place School 42 Norwood Avenue Summit, NJ 07902-0308

Voyager Credits

Editor Rachel Naggar, Director of Communications

Professional Photography Alex Cena Shelley Kusnetz

Contributors Gayle Allen Ryan LaMountain

Comments about Voyager should be directed to the editor at (908) 273-0900, ext. 217 or

Design Abbie Moore Design Printing Graphic Concepts

Voyager 2009  

Voyager 2009, academic newsletter. 2009 theme is Science at Kent Place.