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home : education : schools May 29, 2016


5/13/2014 12:46:00 PM
BBS awarded for science education
Brian Berry (left), director of traveling educators program at OMSI; Sam Pierce (center), teacher at Black Butte School; and Jamie Thompson (right), outreach educator with OMSI during the presentation of the OMSI Award for Outstanding Science Program. photo provided
+ click to enlarge
Brian Berry (left), director of traveling educators program at OMSI; Sam Pierce (center), teacher at Black Butte School; and Jamie Thompson (right), outreach educator with OMSI during the presentation of the OMSI Award for Outstanding Science Program. photo provided

By Kathryn Godsiff
Correspondent

Program staff from the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry traveled the tree-lined roads to Camp Sherman and the Black Butte School last Monday to present the school with the OMSI Award for Outstanding Science Program. This is a significant achievement for the 25-student school already boasting a long tradition of excellence in the humanities and environmental science.

The award was earned earlier in the spring at the Intel NW Science Expo, Oregon's top science fair. In addition to the school award, three students earned awards with projects they had developed during the year, sharing them previously at the Sisters Science Fair. They also developed websites showcasing the work at the Canadian Virtual Science Fair.

The path to the award began when newly hired upper-grades teacher Sam Pierce, with the support of the teaching staff and school board of directors, led efforts to develop a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) curricular focus. There is a distinct environmental science element to the program, utilizing partnerships with agencies working in and around the protected, scenic basin of the Metolius River. These partnerships include Trout Unlimited, Deschutes Watershed Council, and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The partnerships allowed the students opportunity to apply scientific principles to real-world situations in the realm of environmental science and natural-resource management. Classroom instruction, in the multi-grade class in a two-room schoolhouse near the Metolius River, supported this by focusing on scientific thinking and problem-solving.

One problem that the students can't solve is the lack of high-speed Internet in Camp Sherman. To that end, school board member Shane Lundgren and Pierce have collaborated to seek funding for fiber Internet service. Despite the school's relative proximity to Sisters, it remains one of the few schools left in Oregon struggling with low-bandwidth Internet.

Regardless of the limitations, the students were successful in their research, and a sense of momentum is shared by students and staff as the school year comes to a close. According to Pierce, Black Butte School is breaking the mold of the small rural schoolhouse, actively preparing students for the careers and challenges of the future.







Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, August 8, 2014
Article comment by: Sandy Cecere

Congratulations Sam!!! What a great accomplishment!



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