Christian Fogarazzo, Director
The Half Hollow Hills science curriculum is shaped by a vision of the lasting knowledge and skills that students should acquire by the time they become adults. This is based on the concept of a common core of learning from grades K-12 that addresses the particular needs and interests of the students within our District. Our Science Department has been making a concerted effort to provide for the District a program that is exciting, enriching and engaging for students.
Science Program Designed to Maximize Learning
All of our Regents, accelerated and Advanced Placement courses take place in fully equipped lab classrooms with access to high-technology equipment, and are offered for seven and a half-periods per week. We can take great pride in knowing that our commitment to lab instruction is of the highest caliber. While surrounding and similar districts may short-cut either the lab program or the concept of Advanced Placement as a true second-year program, we do not. At High School East, four chemistry classrooms and four biology classrooms were redesigned and outfitted with new cabinetry and laboratory hardware.
High Percentage of Students Take Four Years of Science
An indicator for success in any program is student involvement. Our program boasts an unusually high number of students taking four years of science. In fact, since 2001, over 50 percent of our students, based on average enrollment, successfully completed at least four full years of laboratory science (more than twice the NY State average). The four-year Regents sequence comprises The Physical Setting – Earth Science, The Living Environment, Biology, The Physical Setting – Chemistry, and The Physical Setting - Physics. The science teaching staff believes that our students are highly capable and that they should be expected to take the full complement of program offerings whenever possible. The June 2012 Regents results districtwide were excellent. Of the 2700 students that sat for the Regents examinations in science, 94 percent passed with over 60 percent achieving mastery.
Significant Percentage of Students Take Five Years or More of Science
The diverse and complete Advanced Placement program offerings in science include AP Environmental Science, AP Psychology, AP Biology, AP Chemistry and AP Physics 1&2 and C. These students take the Advanced Placement examinations offered by the College Board. This results in our students having a “leg up” when they enter college, and also may provide for substantial monetary savings through placement out of similar freshman course work in college science.
The Nature and Scope of Our Elective Program
Our elective program is dynamic in nature. Teachers propose and develop electives pertinent to the expanding interest in science and in fostering better understanding of the world around us. Electives such as Anatomy and Physiology, Principles of Engineering, Genetics, Marine Science, Forensic Science, and Astronomy (which utilizes our on-site planetarium). The science staff is dedicated to fostering a strong elective program.