T&L Visits the Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia

3/20/2009 4:50:00 PM

franklin instWhen I entered the Science Leadership Academy in center city Philadelphia, I was immediately struck by the energy. Teens bustled around informally, and one polite young man came up and guided me to the office, where, along with our editorial director Kevin Hogan, we met with the enthusiastic development coordinator, Jon Amsterdam. Jon gave us the brief history of the school -- which is not actually science-based, but an inquiry-driven, project-based high school focused on 21st century learning that opened its doors on September 7, 2006.

The Science Leadership Academy is a partnership high school between the School District of Philadelphia and The Franklin Institute (shown here). The Academy uses Moodle and writes its own curriculum, which includes art, theater, reading, and, of course, science. Each Wednesday, the students attend internships at the nearby Franklin Institute and other area businesses, while the staff stays behind to discuss how they can best collaborate on their curricula to help kids get the most of their learning. Amsterdam says these students, for example, don't just memorize facts about historic wars, they gain a more thorough understanding of what war means by examining the larger factors of what takes countries into war (economy, religion, etc.). He feels this helps them better comprehend their world today, where they can have better knowledge of what it means to be in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Another surprising fact about this science academy focused on 21st century skills: I didn't see much technology in the classrooms, libraries, or labs (see videos). That's because the students carried the 21st century with them at all times through the 1:1 program. The Academy, Amsterdam says, has moved beyond "why laptops" and now focuses on how technology can be integrated into pedagocially-sound curricula that matches their inquiry-driven, project-based approach to education.

After a tour of the school, where we encountered many other friendly, mature students, we met with Principal Chris Lehmann, who Amsterdam credits with many of the Academy's cutting-edge approaches to teaching, along with Technology Coorindator (and Digital Arts teacher) Marcie Hull. Lehmann will be coordinating the review process of all hardware and presentation toos for Tech & Learning's Awards of Excellence -- enabling us to offer this category for the first time this year.

SLA will be admitting another group of freshment next year (more than 850 students interviewed for just 120 openings), and the inaugural freshmen class of 2006 will now move into their senior year, becoming the first seniors at the school. The school just completed their first state PSSAs this past week, so the proof (at least as far as state test scores are concerned) will come to light soon. Stay tuned. -- Christine Weiser, Managing Editor

 VIDEOS FROM THE TOUR

 Library (click HERE if you can't see this video). Because of the 1:1 program, the library doesn't need to clutter shelves with outdated encyclopedias -- and can save library dollars for books specific to collaborative projects. Tech Room Art

Want to read more stories like this?

Get our Free Newsletter Here!

comments powered by Disqus

ETIN Releases Guidelines for Research on Educational Technologies in K-12 Schools

Changes in education technology and policy spur updated approach to in...

Edthena’s New Commitments Feature Allows Teachers to Quickly Create Their Professional Learning Plans

During the video coaching process, teachers can turn comments into an ...

New Study Finds Alabama Students Improve Test Scores Using Fuel Education’s Stride

Study by the Auburn University Center for Evaluation (ACE) found Fuel ...

StudySync Presents the 2017 MyStudySyncTV Contest Winners

Each year, StudySync awards prizes for the top middle school and high ...

Dremel Unveils DigiLab Product Suite with New 3D45 Printer

MOUNT PROSPECT, ILL. (JULY 19, 2017) — Educators and l...

Educators and Advocates Travel to Fort Collins for Renewable Energy Education Training

The 26 hand-selected participants, all of which have a passion for spr...

Epson BrightLink Interactive Laser Display Wins ISTE 2017 Best of Show Award

Connecting Educators and Students with Creative Collaboration in the C...

MeTEOR Education Releases New Learning Resource for Educators: Humanizing the Education Machine Thinking Guide

New Thinking Guide Serves as a Companion Workbook that Helps Educators...

T&L Partner Post
Tweets
Photo GalleriesView All Galleries >
Acer C720-2844 Chromebook

(www.acer.com) The Acer C720-2844 Chromebook model delivers speedy performance, a quick boot time of seven seconds, and a matte anti-glare display tha...

Britannica ImageQuest

(www.britannica.com) Britannica Digital Learning has upgraded ImageQuest, a resource for schools and libraries that provides nearly three million rig...

ClassFlow

(www.classflow.com) Promethean has released ClassFlow, a free, all-in-one, cloud-based teaching tool that lets teachers create and deliver interactive...

Adobe Voice

(www.adobe.com) Adobe has released Adobe Voice, an animated video app for the iPad that lets users create and share video stories. The app incorporate...

DeskBoard

(www.boxlight.com) The BOXLIGHT DeskBoard mobile cart adjusts both height and tilt for the P8 ultra short throw interactive projector on a white surfa...

Core 36M

(www.bretford.com) Bretford has introduced Core 36M, a 36-unit charging cart that is optimized for Chromebooks but which also supports most tablets, l...

Edmentum Sensei

(www.edmentum.com) Edmentum Sensei is a mobile optimized solution that helps administrators visualize and track overall school, teacher, and student p...

HMH Player

(www.hmhco.com) HMH has released HMH Player, a new native app for iOS and Google Chrome that streamlines the learning experience for improved digital ...

Juice Power System

(www.bretford.com) Bretford has unveiled an easy-to-use modular power system with exchangeable power components. The Juice Power System uses unique &#...

LightSail

(www.lightsailed.com) LightSail Education has announced a literacy accelerator that combines books with in-text embedded assessments and real-time dat...

myON

(www.myon.com) myON has expanded its digital library to include a set of literacy tools to further personalize the reading experience for students whi...

Nervanix Clarity

(www.nervanix.com) Nervanix has released Clarity, an application that monitors student attention levels as they study and guides them to revisit conce...

MathBall

(www.robotslab.com) RobotsLAB has introduced MathBall, a smart sensor basketball and tablet system that offers curricula in algebra, pre-calculus, phy...

MobileAsset.EDU

(www.waspbarcode.com) Wasp Barcode’s MobileAsset.EDU solutions include everything administrators need to account for their assets, from software...

OpenEd Assessment Creation Tool

(www.opened.io) OpenEd has announced a free tool that lets teachers easily create assessments with the question types required by Common Core standard...

Panasonic TH-80LFB70U

(www.panasonic.com) Panasonic’s TH-80LFB70U interactive LED display features high-speed, multi-touch, interactive capabilities to promote partic...

penveu interactive display system

(www.penveu.com) The penveu interactive display system is a handheld device that turns projectors and large screen displays into interactive whiteboar...

PresentationPro

(www.califone.com) Califone has updated its PresentationPro speaker. The PA310 readily connects with computers, LCD projectors, mobile devices, intera...

PowerSync+ Mobile Companion App

(www.bretford.com) Bretford Manufacturing, Inc. has announced the availability of the companion app for its PowerSync+ enabled charge and sync produc...

PureCharge Carts and Stations for iPad

(www.bretford.com) Bretford Manufacturing, Inc. has debuted the PureCharge family of iPad and iPad mini charging carts and stations. By offering pre-i...

ProQuest Research Companion

(www.proquest.com) ProQuest’s new information literacy product, Research Companion, offers videos that guide users through the research process,...

Sphere2 & Class Send Student Engagement Software Platform

(www.averusa.com) AVer Information has developed a Student Engagement platform, providing teachers and students with the tools to transmit document ca...

TabChargeCT2

(www.averusa.com) AVer has released the TabChargeCT2 charge cart solution, which can hold up to 40 Chromebooks, iPads, Android or Windows tablets, lap...

VoiceLift with Instant Alert and Emergency Video Monitoring

(www.extron.com) The Instant Alert function of the Extron VoiceLift Microphone, combined with a PoleVault, WallVault, or PlenumVault classroom AV sys...

SMART Board 6065

(www.smarttech.com) The SMART Board 6065 is an ultra HD, 4K interactive flat panel that offers collaborative capabilities while ensuring lessons run s...

Gaggle Unity Partner Program

(www.gaggle.net) The new Gaggle Unity Partner Program provides free data integration services for all educational technology vendors. Through the Gagg...

Waterford Early Learning, Reading, Math & Science

(www.waterford.org) Waterford Early Learning Cloud can be used at home or to supplement lessons in classrooms. It can also be used for individual adap...

NetSupport School

(www.netsupportschool.com) The latest version of NetSupport School allows teachers to monitor and collaborate with any mix of technology. An enhanced ...

Camtasia

(www.techsmith.com/camtasia) TechSmith’s Camtasia gives teachers the tools to record lessons, create videos, and engage their audiences. Educato...

Panasonic 3E

(www.panasonic.com) Intel has teamed up with Panasonic to announce the Panasonic 3E, which uses the Intel Education 2-in-1 reference design. Designed ...