Science department to send students to competitions, adjust to new teacher



The science department will meet in Room B211 after school Nov. 10, according to department chairperson Jennifer Marlow. She said the department will look at different types of assessments.

“We have groups of teachers looking at alternative assessments, we have groups of teachers looking at standards-based grading, and we have another group of teachers that are looking at assessing scientific skills and scientific literacy,” Marlow said.

Also, three students, seniors Richard Du, Kamna Gupta and Sreya Vemuri will present their research at Indiana University for the Indiana Junior Academy of Science competition on Nov. 13. Gupta and Vemuri have also advanced to top 10 in the state for the Outstanding Junior Scientist competition.

Two students, sophomore Jessica Mo and senior Vikas Maturi, have been selected as regional finalists for the 2015 Siemens competition. They will both present their research on Nov. 14 virtually, unlike in past years, when students presented at the University of Notre Dame. Of the 10 finalists (five group, five individual) from each region, one group and one individual will advance to the national competition in Washington D.C.

Marlow also said the department has a new teacher. Patricia Neterer, principles of biomedical science (PLTW) teacher, took over for Abigail Soltis, the teacher that held that position previously. Marlow said Soltis resigned because she accepted another position.

Neterer started working as a full-time teacher on Nov. 8, after previously being a co-taught instructional assistant, meaning that she helped with a variety of different classes, each taught by a teacher of that department as well as a resource teacher. She said the major difference in the two positions has been the preparation time.

“When I was an IA, I would come in and be here and loved every minute of it and would leave at 3:15 (p.m.) and didn’t ever look at school stuff again. Now, after taking on this job, I’m coming in earlier, closer to 7:15 (a.m.), and I’m working and thinking about it pretty much 24/7,” Neterer said.

She said her students and the other teachers have been helpful, and her family has been supportive as well, knowing this is her “dream job.”

“(The students have) been great to work with, and one thing I’ve learned is always to ask the students, you know, ask them what’s going on, because they usually have a better handle of how it’s been handled before,” Neterer said.

Junior Madelyn Cavanaugh said that the transition has been a bit difficult, but she overall likes Neterer’s teaching and feels that the class will not change too much.

“It was a hard adjustment, going from a teacher I knew I really liked to just having a new teacher, but now I realize she teaches pretty much the same way, so it’s okay,” Cavanaugh said. “I do not think that it will affect anything in the class because the class just has a basic structure, and it’s just the teacher teaching off of a structured class.”