This article can be found published on the Daily Local News‘ website.
WEST CHESTER — Six science teachers already have a head start to the 2016-17 school year, thanks to Sartomer’s Science Teacher Program, held from July 5 through 7.
This is the second year Sartomer has held the program and once again, teachers from both the West Chester Area School District and the Coatesville Area School District participated. New this year, however, were teachers from Rosa International Middle School in Cherry Hill, N.J.
“We did that because one of our employees, who has been with the company for 40 years, has a daughter who is a science teacher (at Rosa International),” said Roberta Showell, manager of quality control at Sartomer. “He asked us and we agreed to come out of our Chester County arena. The program is usually for schools surrounding your business unit, which is Sartomer Company.”
The teachers participating in the program are sent a list of available science kits for them to choose from.
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Once the kits arrive, the teachers come to the three-day camp and work with their chosen kits to get a feel for what the students will be doing and to begin planning out their lessons for the upcoming school year.
What’s nice about the kits is the fact that it comes with just about everything the teachers could want or need for the lessons.
“We had Science in Motion and Ecology, for example,” Showell said. “In the Science in Motion, they build a little race car with the big wheels in the rear and little wheels in the front. They use a mouse trap and Lego parts so they get to understand if they change this, will it make it go faster? If you change this, can you go a longer distance?”
For some of the teachers, the kits give the students something they otherwise may not have access to at school.
Even the teachers themselves enjoyed the entire process and camp.
“They were (so excited),” Showell said. “The one teacher from Coatesville had heard and seen some types of teaching kits, but they never actually thought they would be this intense — the kits being so thoroughly packed. The one set up an aquarium and it had stones and water and things to put in there.”
If the teachers need additional resources, Sartomer is there to help.
“Our plant manager, Ken Sweeney, passed out checks,” Showell said. “Each teacher received a check of $500 for participating and also gave them a $500 check for their school to be donated to the principal of each school. It’s kind of like the icing on the cake for the local teachers.”
The program is completely funded through philanthropic grants and gifts from Arkema, a division of Sartomer.
Due to the increasing popularity of the program, Sartomer plans to continue to host six science teachers each summer.
“Arkema really, really supports this Science Teacher Program,” Showell said. “The goal is for community outreach and to promote interest in science. We send applications to various schools. We wanted to contact an inner-city school, so we got Scott Middle School. Those students probably would not have been able to be part of something like this with the kits that we get them. It’s enough for six months of teaching and the kits have … all of the materials needed to actually do projects that are visible to the students and is no longer just a concept.”