May 2, 2016
I continue to be impressed with how committed our teachers are to enhancing the student learning experience. I am equally pleased with the dedication of each student to make the Rowland Hall experience his or her own. I witness our faculty and students living our mission by striving for personal and academic excellence every day. I would like to take this opportunity to share a few highlights in math and science as we work on the second goal of our strategic plan: Provide the Intermountain West’s most outstanding math and science program.
Our all-girls High School Science Olympiad team recently qualified for the state championships, which means we were among the top 25 teams in our region, impressive given our small size. At the state competition in late April, the team—this time with a few young men in the mix—had a strong showing, placing fifth in three Olympiad categories and sixth in another.
Four of our students were honored with the National Coalition of Women in Technology (NCWIT) Aspirations in Computing award – three winners and one runner-up in the Northern Utah Affiliate. This award builds a talent pool for the growing technical workforce and helps academic and corporate organizations celebrate diversity in computing by honoring young women at the high-school level for their computing-related achievements and interests. Read more about our Rowland Hall girls at the forefront of STEM in this Fine Print article.
Our Middle School MATHCOUNTS team took fourth in the state, beating out charter schools that specialize in math.
Rowland Hall students continue to show evidence of strong academic growth in math and science on the ERB tests given to second through ninth graders each year. Our students consistently demonstrate average yearly gains in mathematics that outpace their independent school peers nationwide. We don't have sufficient longitudinal data to analyze for science (the sub-test was added only last year), but we expect to see similar trends develop in the coming years.
Our science teachers continue to work toward adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards (K-8). These standards have been widely acclaimed throughout the scientific and educational communities as an outstanding framework for science education in schools.
The Math/Science Task Force is collaborating with the Strategic Plan Implementation Committee to make recommendations on how to best implement the second goal of the strategic plan. This subcommittee is comprised of faculty and administration across all four divisions of the school.
Finally, I am proud of the internship program offered in the Upper School, which enables students to explore career interests through practical and applied experiences. We are particularly pleased to offer extensive opportunities in the field of science. Students have the opportunity to devote themselves to tasks such as splicing DNA and researching HIV and Ebola inhibitors. Among the places they will be working this summer is in the University of Utah Gastroenterology Division, Cytozyme Laboratories and Anthropology department, and the Huntsman Cancer Institute. This program is in great shape in part due to our community connections and our generous parent body.
I hope you enjoy the remainder of the school year. I look forward to seeing you at one of the many year-end events celebrating the successes of our students and community as a whole.