Greetings from Tulsa!

Each month, we ask one of the teachers running Letters to a Pre-Scientist in their classroom to write a blog post related broadly to science education. Our next teacher, Sarah Henning, is a high school teacher in Tulsa, OK.

Greetings from Tulsa! My name is Sarah Henning, and I teach at Will Rogers College High School in Tulsa, OK. This is my classroom’s first year participating in Letters to a Pre-Scientist, and we are all very enthusiastic about it! Our school is a magnet college-preparatory school in the Tulsa Public Schools district. In order to be admitted to WRCHS, 8th graders must achieve a 13 on the ACT ASPIRE test, have at least a 2.0 GPA, and not have any substantial attendance or discipline problems. In order to stay at WRCHS past their sophomore year, students must maintain a 2.0 GPA, have at least 90% attendance, and be eligible to enroll in Tulsa Community College, Tulsa Tech, or Advanced Placement courses. We have a partnership with TCC that allows students to take college courses during their school day right here on their high school campus. Students can have up to 24 hours of college credits by the time they graduate high school, for only the cost of the textbooks.sarah_1

One of the classes that every student at WRCHS takes is College Summit. This is a yearly course that changes as the students are promoted. Freshmen learn about study skills, learning styles, navigating high school, and design their plan of study. Sophomores do mock job interviews and further explore careers. Juniors and seniors work on college application materials, practice skills for the ACT/SAT, and work on financial literacy. I chose to participate in LPS with my college summit class of 9th graders.

I am a science teacher with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology, and one of my colleagues from graduate school (who participates in the program as a scientist) recommended LPS to me for my students. Since College Summit is the only non-science class I teach, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to incorporate science into it as well. I have 22 students in my College Summit class, all of whom are participating in the LPS program. Some photos of our first Letter Opening Day are throughout this post.

sarah_2My students really enjoyed hearing from scientists all over the world, especially since most of them have never left Oklahoma, or even Tulsa. This program is very valuable for freshmen as they explore careers because most of them have only a vague idea of what a “scientist” or an “engineer” or a “doctor” does. Reading letters from people in the various subfields of all of these careers is an incredible learning experience for them. My students also had a great time writing letters to their scientists. The majority of them took great pride in crafting their letters and making them look attractive. While a few of them struggled with what to say, the scientists did an excellent job of providing conversation starters for them.

We are all looking forward to continuing to participate in Letters to a Pre-Scientist for the remainder of the year!


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