My students are phenomenal. We have a very average mix of ability levels, but what stands out about our kids is their determination and grit. This tight knit group of kids is also extremely compassionate and generous. They worked hard last year organizing several supply drives and doing volunteer work to benefit their community.
They are inquisitive go-getters that are eager to be successful in life, despite any personal hardships they may have had to overcome.
Our school population is sixty-five percent economically disadvantaged and sixty-four percent are Hispanic. Although our area is technically a suburb of Houston, much of our district is still very rural and many of our students live in mobile homes and in flood prone areas. Our school is a unique program in the district and is still pretty new. The students take college classes while still in high school and are able to graduate at the end of four years with an Associate's degree. We have an extremely limited budget that provides for most basic supplies that we need; however, we frequently don't have money for enrichment supplies that really help connect the students with the concepts we teach.
What's the best way to learn about Biology? It's not by watching a video; it's by getting your hands dirty and doing experiments! There are several lab activities that we do throughout the year that require plants, such studying the nitrogen cycle, looking at the effects of acid rain, and understanding habitat disturbance and succession. However, the classroom fluorescent lights don't provide adequate light and we don't get enough sun from the window to be able to grown them. We also do not have an area outside where we can grow them that either has enough sun or is safe from getting knocked over or eaten by deer. Having this plant growing station in the classroom would allow us to grow the plants that we need in order to make these experiments a success.
The plants we need to grow for these lab activities are crucial to students' understanding of critical Biology topics and really help kids connect what they are learning to the real world science issues that we are dealing with today.
In addition, we would be able to utilize the plant growing station to grow food for our classroom animals, as well as starting seedlings for the outdoor butterfly habitat we are working on creating. This school year has been a rough one with a lot of change, in addition to having to deal with the difficulties that Harvey brought our area. We are working hard to provide the best learning environment and experiences for our students!
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