JAY — The chemistry laboratory at Jay High School will be upgraded before the start of the school year in August. It is part of an effort to implement a math and science academy component in the school system.
The purpose of the math and science academy would be to enhance and improve the academic curriculum by providing students challenging learning opportunities in mathematics and the sciences.
The money to upgrade the chemistry lab will come from the federal stabilization funds that were returned to the school system Wednesday. School districts around the state received lower subsidies than anticipated from the state for education this year due to a shortfall in state revenue.
That money was to be returned to the systems using federal funds with guidelines attached, Superintendent Robert Wall said Friday.
Jay received $197,400 and $42,400 of that will be used to upgrade the chemistry lab, he said. The remaining $155,000 was rolled over to fiscal year 2010 to support positions that would have had to be eliminated, he said.
The modernization of the lab will support a proposed rigorous college and career program, he said. There are other labs, including the biology lab, that will need to be upgraded in the future to go along with a new pre-engineering and environmental science pathway the school department is looking to implement.
“What we’re looking at in Jay is to provide high-quality, value-added improvements that will help support Jay High School,” Wall said.
It will add new dimensions to the education program.
“We are seeking to offer college courses on campus during the day for students,” Wall said. “We’re also seeking to add an academy component to our high school program, but that also includes creating clear career paths for our students in our elementary school.”
The draft pathway proposal under review would be a pilot program. It is rigorous and is intended for students with the ambition and ability to prepare for college programs in engineering and environmental science, Wall said.
The pathway would start in the third grade with expanded math and science education in addition to the regular curriculum.
“I think the times say to us restructuring is necessary for our students to be competitive,” Wall said. “We’re looking at working at other opportunities for students associated with the robotics program, Envirothon Team and the wind blade program. We’re looking at curriculum enhancement and we’re looking at a rigorous curriculum, not that we don’t have it now.”
They have applied for a $150,000 Quality Zone Academy Bond to support the establishment of a pre-engineering and environmental science pathway, he said.
Part of the bond would be put toward modernization of the other science labs, staff in-service and buying a geodesic dome greenhouse kit that students would install using engineering, math and science. The students would also operate the greenhouse.
“We, the collective leadership in Jay, Livermore and Livermore Falls, need to work together to provide opportunities for our students to participate in programming that will add value to their future. Regardless of whether we get the bond or not, we intend to continue to develop an academy structure.”
Wall said they would draw on any available resource to create an atmosphere of not only choice, but quality and preparation.
“We know students need to channel their ambition and abilities, and when these opportunities are not available because of some sustained cultural roadblocks associated with separate systems, something needs to be done,” Wall said.
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Jay school Superintendent Robert Wall looks at the outdated eye-wash station in the chemistry laboratory at the Jay High School. The lab built in the 1960s will be upgraded and revamped this summer. The biology lab will be done in the future.

Jay school Superintendent Robert Wall said a fume hood in the chemistry laboratory will be replaced as part of the renovation this summer at the Jay High School. The lab built in the 1960s will be upgraded and revamped this summer and the biology lab will be done in the future.

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