Leaders at Mason Preparatory School in downtown Charleston say their goal is to prepare students for a productive future in a global society. Unique programs are helping to expose students and their families to science outside of the classroom.
Science and math take center stage at Mason Prep, where school work and field trips are truly a family affair. It's all part of Mason Fest, Families Experiencing Science Together. Science teacher Cindy Renkas says, “Parents participate with their children in hands on science experiences with scientists in their own area of expertise at their own location of choice.”
On weekends, students and their families do hands-on experiments throughout the Lowcountry, learning from professional chemists, physicists, medical doctors, radiologists, naturalists, engineers, paleontologists. Renkas says, “We did anatomy and physiology with four doctors at MUSC doing things that students don't do until they are at least in the graduate program. We did a bunch of experiments including blowing up a few things recently at the college. We will be doing physics of sound next month.”
The science program also centers around a challenging curriculum. Renkas says, “it's a unique program where you would not be able to do this unless you were at least a graduate student or beyond.” Eighth grade student Alex Pastis says, “It's a really good bonding experience to get to share fun activity with your parent is kind of like having your parents at school. It's a very great and unique idea. People get out and see new things that they're not use to, and they learn new things.” Students say it creates an authentic science experience. Eighth grade student Madison Baxley says,
“I've done one activity, and I very much like doing it. It's a way to get out there and do other things, so I love it.”
In house, students at Mason Prep are exposed to the Math and Science Olympiad, held once a year. Students cycle throughout the day with hands on science activities, led by parents. “Mason Prep is cool in so many ways, I can't list all of them,” says eighth grade student Madison Duffy,
Mason Prep also has a student led recycling program and students organize lake sweeps to clean up the lake near their school.
Coming up Friday on News 2 Today, we'll present Mason Prep with our Cool School award. We'll also tell you how the students surprised Octavia.
We want to hear about the good things going on at your school. Send an email to Octavia at firstname.lastname@example.org. Maybe your school will be the next Cool School of the week.