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SCIENCE DEPARTMENT OVERVIEW
While our students do rank in the top tier as far as standardized testing in Science goes (R. Roger Rowe is tied for 2nd place in all of California in state testing ), what makes our Science department truly elite is that it operates far above the state standards on all levels. Top notch teachers with staggering qualifications and experience expertly lead passionate students through a meticulously customized curriculum complemented by access to a sophisticated level of technology.
Our students are truly invested in the work they do because our technology and resources allow them to collect their own data and perform hands-on experiments that keep them engaged in the material and concepts being learned. Our students don’t just read about a concept or see a class demo. They each have access to hardware, software and lab materials that allow them not only to conduct a lab, but often to generate the data needed to complete it. The Capstone system allows students to analyze quantitative data they’ve collected using a variety of sensors that are sensitive enough to measure with both precision and accuracy. Each pair of students has access to their own computer, and every computer utilizes Capstone to interface with the data students have collected. For example, eighth grade students learn about g-forces by analyzing data they have collected on rides at the amusement park. This creates a unique learning situation where students are invested in the work because they have essentially created their own project. Our technology even allows students to go beyond this practical level into the theoretical. Explore Learning, an online simulation platform for labs, gives students the ability to manipulate data in ways that would be impossible in the classroom. They can vary the strength gravity, create a vacuum, or create extreme temperatures and forces, and re-analyze their data, all while reinforcing the core skills and concepts being learned.
Another standout feature of our Science program is the comprehensive, multi-year Science system currently known as “Robotics.” This standalone program, which encompasses Junior FLL, FLL, FTC and FRC, boasts the highest participation rate in K-12 schools in the state. In the program, students engage with advanced scientific concepts at a young age, making those concepts more readily accessible when encountered later on. From simple machines and graphical programming to high – school level engineering and physics, this program teaches students about so much more than science. They learn about science, technology and engineering, of course, but also about the design process, teamwork, problem solving and an essential concept that is invaluable inside the classroom and out: failure is actually success, if you choose to learn from your failures. The “Robotics” program at R. Roger Rowe continues to engage students in scientific concepts that prepare prepare them for a lifetime of collaboration and analysis.
As the release of NGSS ( Next Generation Science Standards) draws near, the future of our Science program remains bright. We will adopt the discipline-specific NGSS model and continue to implement cross-curricular efforts between the Math and Science departments and the English and Science departments. By creating interdisciplinary learning opportunities, the Rancho Santa Fe Science department strives to maximize our students’ understanding of key concepts and allows them to more frequently and fully retain the skills they have acquired.
The Science Department emphasizes the “teaching team” – student/teacher/parent – and urges students to strive towards success while stretching towards their passions. Meanwhile, parents, teachers, and students are all able to use the Canvas system to monitor live progress of the student’s education. As a result, our students leave the school not only with a wide breadth of knowledge, but also with a crucial tool for success: accountability in their own education.
Access to advanced educational technology, our ability to recruit, hire, and retain experienced and passionate teachers, resources like field trips and hands on lab experiments, and a robust extra-curricular science program all converge to make the R. Roger Rowe Science department truly exceptional.
In the Rancho Santa Fe Social Studies and History Department, our students develop skills, knowledge and attitudes that will serve them both inside and outside the classroom.
Our students move on having developed transferable skills needed in order to acquire and apply knowledge and understanding in a variety of contexts: examining information critically, assessing the significance of events and processes, developing an understanding of and respect for different points of view, reaching supportable conclusions, and proposing viable solutions to problems.
Our department boasts an established tradition of emphasis on analyzing primary sources. Rather than focusing on rote memorization of names and dates or reading facts out of a textbook, our students dive head first into history, bypassing bias and skewed perspective, by literally going straight to the source. When they source, contextualize, corroborate and close-read primary source material, students can visually analyze the source and dissect the text for themselves. Dedicated and experienced teachers guide students towards a broader understanding of the necessary facts and concepts while allowing them to make their own discoveries and find their
We focus on depth of knowledge, and our students graduate not only with a deep understanding of the material, but also an upper hand in having developed skills they will use in and out of the classroom for the rest of their lives. Interdisciplinary collaboration supports this effort as well. English texts are routinely paired with the History curriculum so students develop more contextual awareness while learning the necessary skills and strategies to become active and individual critical thinkers.
The assessment strategy in the R. Roger Rowe History and Social Sciences department is truly innovative and serves multiple purposes. Truly hands-on assessments, in conjunction with our focus on primary sources, allows students to significantly interact with history at its core. It also allows different types of learners to identify with and understand and retain dense historical material. They stage mock elections, trials and constitutional conventions. They experience their own historical recreations: a walk through their American Revolution, a tour of their Egyptian Wax museum, a viewing of documentaries they’ve created about the Westward movement. They create interactive timelines and participate in projects that allow them to truly engage with the material in a way that helps them retain the knowledge, but more importantly imparts and reinforces the skills they need to become thinkers and doers in this world.