Third graders in Mrs. Anderson’s class are fully engaged as they learn about magnetic force, while first graders in Mrs. Dawson’s class are just as captivated as they learn about the reflection of light.
In both classrooms at Burnett Elementary School, the Science is Elementary program–which enlists science-savvy staff and volunteers—inspires younger students through interactive, hands-on activities.
“I love the interactiveness of the lessons,” said Mrs. Anderson, who assists the Science is Elementary staff and volunteers as they divide the students up into smaller groups following a whole class lesson.
Science is Elementary comes into kindergarten through 3rd grade classrooms at Burnett, Rose and Sinnott, once a month, bringing along an array of materials and supplies for demonstrations, activities and scientific discovery. Each student has a Science is Elementary folder to record their findings.
“The kids have really enjoyed this program,” said Mrs. Dawson. “The way they set up the lessons is very kid appropriate and definitely connects with what we’ve been teaching.”
Before each visit into the classroom, Science is Elementary sends the teacher a set of slides to teach a pre-lesson to their students. Then, they dig deeper for that day’s session. Afterwards, the teacher receives a follow-up lesson to reinforce the concepts they have learned.
On this particular Friday, lead instructor Genie Njolito dangles a paper clip from a string and asks the students about the different types of forces at play: air pressure, gravity and muscle. She then asks them if it is balanced or unbalanced and additional questions such as “What is a magnet; what objects are attracted and which are not; and how can we move the paper clip without touching it?” They learn that the earth is a giant magnet and that magnets have a north and south pole. During group work, a volunteer helps them move a paper clip along a piece of paper with a magnet underneath.
“When we come in, we want to inspire the kids to ask questions and empower them to do science,” said Jennifer Urmson, Director of In-person Programming for Science is Elementary. “It is a hands-on experience. It’s about exploration and discovery. It’s a lot of fun.”
In Mrs. Dawson’s classroom, students are learning about reflective and translucent materials. In their small work groups, they hold up different reflective materials such as aluminum foil, CDs, spoons and mirrors. With each item, students are asked if they can see their reflection and if one is more reflective than the other.
“It’s so easy for our teachers to implement,” said Burnett Principal Hanna Asrat, who has observed Science is Elementary in action. “The kids are always super excited. It’s a great way for our youngest students to have hands-on science experiences.”
Economics teacher Teresa Zesati reminds her students everyday that in a few short months they will be finished with high school and off to make their marks in the real world.
Her goal for each of those students is for them to have a 10-year plan, mapping out where they want to be and how they will accomplish that.
“I tell them that in six months you will be out in the real world, and how many of you have a plan?,” said the first-year instructor at Calaveras Hills High School where she teaches economics, government and cultural history classes. “They need to know the steps it takes to get them where they want to be.”
Senior Ethan Tan, 17, understands the importance of financial literacy as he maps out his future after high school. “It’s definitely something every student should learn,” Tan said. “We are learning how we should be saving, building up our credit scores, and putting money aside for other things.”
Zesati opened the second quarter by introducing how the banking system works, how to open a bank account, the difference between a bank and a credit union, and how credit and credit cards work. As part of the lesson, students played a simulation computer game where they chose a career, learned the hours and pay for that occupation, and then had to figure out how to survive a month with expenses on their own.
“My goal is for them all to have a 10-year plan by the end of this section. Where are you going to be and how did you get there?,” said Zesati, who uses her own life experiences to demonstrate the challenges one must overcome along the way.
Students then were given $100,000 to use in the stock market in another simulation activity. They first learned about how the stock market works and how to build a portfolio. Some put all their money into one company while others spread their money around, Zesati explained.
“We use MarketWatch. It’s fake money but real stocks. You have to decide when to sell and when to buy stocks,” said 17-year-old senior Alex Smith, who plans to join the Marines and work in the electrical field. “I’m learning so much.”
She makes sure that students do some self-reflection each step of the way: Why does it matter? How does it affect me and how does it affect the community? How can I change that for the better?
“Everything we are doing I want them to connect the dots to their 10-year plan and the steps it is going to take to get there,” Zesati said. “I always remind them the real world starts in a few months so you’ve got to have a plan.”
The class touches on many topics, including cycles of poverty and how to break those cycles in underserved communities; education and school funding for public and private schools; areas of food scarcity; and financial aid for college.
“Talking with her convinced me to go to college,” said senior Diego Garcia, 17, who has applied for enrollment into San Jose City College.
Last week, students used a money tracker to track how much they spent in a month compared to how much they earn. Zesati created a template for them to use in class and beyond. They also came up with a dream budget and again were challenged with how they can get there.
“It helps them learn how to manage their money better,” she added. “I want them to figure out where they need to be to be financially stable in the real world.”
Milpitas High School senior softball player Linh Le inked her national letter of intent to play at Duke University next season in front of family, friends, MUSD staff and MHS students inside the gymnasium. The scholar-athlete holds a 4.1 GPA and is the reigning league MVP heading into her senior year with the MHS Trojans.
"It means the world to me to get to be with the people I love and celebrate my accomplishment," said Linh, who was discovered by the Duke Blue Devils coach while playing in a tournament in Huntington Beach. "I want to tell every little girl out there that it really is possible."
MHS softball coach Deana Querubin said: "It means a lot because she's worked so hard to get here. It's such a big moment for Linh. She is so deserving. She is such a great kid."
Congratulations to Linh for this amazing achievement and good luck this season at MHS and ahead at Duke!
Hi everyone, I’m Vicky Ly, this year’s Milpitas High School Associated Student Body (ASB) President and Jack Emery District Coordinator!
The Jack Emery drive is a food and money drive where all the schools work together to raise money for our local Milpitas Food Pantry. The Jack Emery drive will be going on from November 7 - December 9, so keep an eye out for any non-perishable goods in your home! Our theme for the drive is comm-UNITY, and our district goal is to bring together our schools and Milpitas comm-UNITY through the Jack Emery Drive!
This drive is so important because it helps the pantry and those in need, and it also unifies our schools as well. It’s a time where we bring the entire Milpitas community together for a great cause. To kick our drive, we hosted our Jack Emery kick-off brunch in person! All the school sites and some members of our Milpitas Unified District got together at Milpitas High to kick off our drive.
I love that I get to coordinate the drive because I have the opportunity to be involved in something as impactful as the Jack Emery Drive as a high school student. Last year, I led the Milpitas High drive, and we were able to raise 48,000 cans (with $1 = 2 cans), far exceeding our goal of 22,000. This year, I will be overseeing the drive for the district and helping the school sites with their drives! I’m excited to see how well we’re going to do this Jack Emery season. I'm rooting for Gavin Heraldo, the lead for the MHS drive, to surpass the total amount of cans that were donated last year :)
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING:
The governing board of Milpitas Unified School District will hold a Public Hearing on Tuesday, June 28, 2022.