Fifteen rising ninth graders are on the Syracuse University campus this week as part of a developing program to engage encourage students from the Institute of Technology at Central Tech high school (ITC) to seek pathways to college and careers in bio-tech fields. They will be learning about reading maps, calculating distances, and collecting data, and applying that knowledge to determining the average response times of emergency vehicles to different areas of the City of Syracuse. Their assignment is to determine if Syracuse needs an additional hospital, and if so, where in the city it should be located. The students put their orienteering, navigational, and measuring skills to the test on a tour of campus earlier in the week.
ITC math teacher David Fraher is planning to use the week’s activities and findings throughout the school year. He says, “We discussed coming up with a proposal, where the students might contact a city official, to give them the experience of advocating using the data they collected.”
The four day campus program is being led by School of Education professors Duane Graysay and Thomas Bull, and five teachers from ITC. This campus component is an extension of the ITC’s existing Summer Bridge Program for new freshman offered through the Syracuse City School District, but the hope is to develop lasting relationships with the students and teachers at ITC through this and future collaborations.
“The idea for this came out of one of our Field Relations Advisory Committee meetings, and we are optimistic about the reciprocal benefits for the ITC and School of Education,” says Tom Bull, Director of Field Relations and Assistant Teaching Professor at the School of Education. “ITC students will have a learning experience on the Syracuse University campus early in their high school careers, hopefully igniting a desire to make a commitment to higher education down the road. And, we have an opportunity to build relationships with the great educators at the ITC who we rely on to host and mentor our pre-service student teachers during the year.”
ITC Principal Donna Formica agrees, “It’s been a wonderful opportunity for our students and teachers.”
Naomi Ali G’00, living environment teacher at ITC, is excited about the theme of the workshop, and hopes the content will inspire an appreciation for learning in the students as they begin high school. “Whether its math, or science, or art, it’s not just material on a test, it’s part of your life. Own it,” she says.