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Participants in Workshop 5

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Mercer Island High School is in an upper economic suburban community confined to an island in Lake Washington near Seattle. The mission of the Mercer Island School District, in partnership with the community, is to prepare every student to be a critical and creative thinker, a productive and collaborative worker, a responsible and caring citizen, and a lifelong learner in a changing world. MIHS offers a strong academic program using a blocked seven class schedule. MIHS students consistently have high scores on SAT exams, and 85-90% of the graduates of MIHS continue their education at the college level.

Dorothy Simpson has been a math and physics teacher at Mercer Island High School for 27 years. Prior to that she taught in Seattle and in New York State. She has a B.A. in math and science from SUNY Albany and has done graduate work in physics and psychology at the University of Washington. She is a member of the Washington team for CPU (Constructing Physics Understanding in a computer supported learning environment) and has led workshops for CPU for the past two summers. Dorothy is a member of the district science curriculum team which has aligned the district curriculum with the Washington State standards K-10. She coordinates the Puget Sound Physics Teachers Network, a group of physics teachers who meet monthly to discuss teaching and learning of introductory physics.

Jennifer Wright has been teaching science and mathematics at Mercer Island High School for six years. She has a civil engineering degree from Purdue University and worked in private industry for about ten years before returning to school to pursue her education credentials. She received a M.Ed. from Seattle Pacific University in 1996. She is the High School Site Technology Lead Teacher and its Web page coordinator.

Whittier High School, [ Web site ] in Whittier, California, 25 miles east of Los Angeles, serves approximately 1800 students from a wide variety of socio-economic backgrounds. All students live in the community and about 70% are Hispanic, 25% Anglo, and the remaining 5% are Black, Asian, or American Indian. Whittier has been a member of the Coalition of Essential Schools for several years. The school community is committed to maximizing student potential by first establishing high expectations and then applying a variety of assessment and accountability models. Teachers are encouraged to grow professionally through collaboration, membership in Critical Friends Groups, and training in the use of educational technology.

Barbara Alcala [ photo ] is chair of the mathematics department at Whittier High School, and a mentor teacher. She is an eighth-generation Californian with a B.A. and M.A. in History from Holy Names College in Oakland, CA. Prior to Whittier, she taught for 15 years in private schools in Oakland, Santa Monica, and Alhambra. She is a member of several government panels and committees and a Math/Science Fellow. She works on staff development with her teachers, and feels that good staff development should ask not just "What can I do in my classroom tomorrow?", but more basically "What questions can I ask myself about my own teaching, my own classroom?".

Patricia A. Wasley is the dean of the Graduate School of Education at Bank Street College in New York City. She has worked as a researcher for the Puget Sound Educational Consortium at the University of Washington, at the Coalition of Essential Schools, and at the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University. She is the author of Stirring the Chalkdust (1994) and Teachers Who Lead (1991).

Jim Carter is Acting Science Specialist for the Saugus School District in Saugus, MA, and teaches physics at Saugus High School. He has taught in the Saugus district since he graduated from Salem (MA) State College in 1983.



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