A Unique “Magnet” Experience
When the Camas School Board approved the development of a math, science and technology magnet program in 2006, they also endorsed a new, integrated “block” of studies that would form the program core for magnet students in the ninth and tenth grade. This three-period, integrated block is what has become the heart and soul of a “school within a school” experience for incoming magnet students.
The block of classes in the freshmen year is comprised of AP Environmental Science, Pre-AP English, and a Principles of Design, Technology, and Engineering course that ushers students into the academic and social culture of the MST program. Key elements revolve around these guiding ideas and concepts:
- a strong emphasis on essential research design principles;
- characteristics of successful interdisciplinary project design;
- problem-based learning and strategies for successful communication.
Student research teams explore rigorous course content in three specific course areas, but they also complete a research design sequence that helps them understand the essentials of project design, data collection, data interpretation, and professional presentations. The program provides students a safe and challenging but supportive environment. It builds a strong foundation of knowledge and skills they will need to be successful in subsequent year of study at CHS and beyond.
In addition to the block of studies described above, ninth-grade students will also access an accelerated mathematics course-most likely Geometry or Algebra II, depending on pre-requisites. Although not technically part of the magnet block, these mathematics instructors will also work with magnet faculty to appropriately align and differentiate the mathematics curriculum so that it augments topics students will be exploring in AP Environmental Science and their Principles of Design, Technology, and Engineering course.
The freshman experience will also introduce students to another magnet goal—the opportunity to forge and nurture community partnerships. Students will learn about local issues by becoming active partners with community agencies, professors, and their teachers, while conducting authentic research. The flexible three -period block will also enable the integration of three distinct disciplines to research real world problems. Students will focus their research on topics of particular interest to them.
To see what a flushed out sample schedule looks like, potentially, at all four years of a magnet student’s time at CHS, visit the following link: Sample Schedule