With funds from our 1994 HHMI award and interest account,
we launched an academic enrichment program for students at Washington
High School. The need for an academic enrichment program became
evident during our conversations with teachers at B.T. Washington
High School. Teachers stressed the need for students to be better
prepared to tackle standardized tests. One such test is the Georgia
High School Graduation Test (GHSGT), a curriculum-based assessment
of 11th graders and a high school graduation requirement. The test
covers english, mathematics, science, social studies and writing.
This need gave birth to the Scholastic Testing Enrichment Program
(STEP) which began in July 2000. The program attracted 92 of the
school's 320 eleventh graders.
STEP offered students fun, yet intensive science instruction.
The idea behind STEP is not to teach to the test but rather to use
innovative pedagogical techniques, such as problem-based learning,
to deliver science instruction. The school's science teachers designed
the STEP curriculum and were excited about having the freedom to
introduce students to laboratory activities and materials they are
not usually exposed to during the regular school year.
In an effort to integrate our various science outreach
programs and to provide positive role models for high school students
during the 2000-2001 year, we hired six undergraduates from our
Hughes Scholars program to work as teacher assistants for the STEP
program. Additionally, due to the overwhelming response from teachers,
students and parents, the STEP program was continued on Saturdays
during the school year. We hope that the continued success of the
program will encourage school officials to institutionalize it.
For additional information on the STEP program please
Ms. Andrea Neal
Phone: (404) 727-0954