Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Human Interest: Educational Success in Davis

What Did Davis, CA Middle Schoolers Learn in School This Year?

Math, Science, English...Leadership Skills?

Find out what Davis, CA young teens learned in school this year.  These are amazing young people with very talented teachers.    

As another school year ends, I wondered what today's teens consider the most important thing they learned this year.  To find out, I ventured over to Oliver Wendel Holmes Jr High Davis CA.  With an award-winning music program and listed as a 5-star school on the website Great Schools, Davis Unified has reason to be proud.  Nevertheless, their greatest asset are their students and we're about to find out why.    

What is the most important thing you learned in school? 

What surprised me even before I began my interviews was how mature these 12 to 14-year-olds are.  All appeared extremely focused for this age level.  Their demeanor piqued my interest to the point of excitement; what would their answers be?  

Math and Science 

Happily, I learned that the majority of young ladies and many young men love math and science.  This is great news.  Numerous students consider algebra the most important subject they learned and included that they consider it a useful building block for future math classes.  In fact, Maylee, a lovely 14-year-old, shared that algebra was her favorite class "...because it will later help me in biology and other subjects.  People often say that you never use algebra, but it depends on the career choice you choose."  Very insightful since most adults don't understand this principle.   

Many students chose geometry stating that it is because it has "real life" applications.  For example, Kelly, age 14 considers geometry most important because she wants to become a programmer.  Tess, age 13, shared that because she learned so much in geometry, she can't wait to use it in other math classes. 

In what science class did the students learn the most?  Most loved all science, like 12-year old Langdon and 13-year-old Samantha.  Some gave interesting examples of exactly what they learned, such as the sun's extinction in five-billion years.  Jason, age 14, offered the most specific and enthusiastic answer,"...there was a physics project where we had to use the principles to something in real life--a sport.  I chose fencing and when I applied the laws of physics to fencing, my technique improved greatly." 

English is spoken here. 

As a retired English teacher, I was extremely pleased that a number of students consider English lessons most important.  For example, 12-year-old Samantha considers learning the MLA format most important, because she knows it will be used in college.  She mentioned that her teacher taught her -- bravo teacher -- "...a lot of professors look for it in college."  Peter, age 13, added, "The principles of grammar are most important because it will help me with my college applications and essay writing."  

Parlez-vous français?
Even though many consider Spanish classes most important, most chose French.  Case in point, Mitch a jovial 14-year-old valued his French classes most.  He believes that it will help him in the future and plans to travel to France one day.   

It's amazing what one can learn in school! 

Remarkably, it wasn't just reading, writing, and arithmetic some considered most important.  For a few, they learned and appreciated something much more.  Beatrice a 15-year-old surprised me by stating that she learned to "...manage time effectively and to work toward a complete and polished goal."  Another shared that she learned not to procrastinate and to get things done on time.  A few others shared excitement that they learned better social skills, while one 13-year-old surprised me most of all with his reply.  Most important to this young man was learning leadership skills.

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