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Meet the Fellows 2016: Lynn Shon

By Heather Flanagan
April 26, 2016

The BOP-CCERS Fellowship at Pace University is a two-year professional development and training program designed to give teachers the knowledge and tools to engage their students in hands-on restoration science in New York Harbor.  This is our second year of the program, and the first year in which we have two cohorts overlapping. The program is structured so that second year fellows serve as mentors to the first.  

The first cohort of 17 middle school math and science teachers, who began in February 2015, are now finishing up their implementation year, during which they have taught a spiraling BOP curriculum and have taken their students on at least four monitoring expeditions. The second cohort of 24 teachers from 14 schools are currently in their foundations semester, in which they learn from guest experts and receive four days of hands-on field training from staff scientists. 

Last fall we featured some BOP-CCERS Cohort One teachers and now it’s Cohort Two teachers’ turn to shine!  Join us this month as we get to know more of the NYC DOE middle school teachers who are bringing hands-on restoration science to classrooms from the Bronx to Brooklyn.  Today we’re getting to know Lynn Shon of M.S. 88 in South Slope, Brooklyn.

Lynn Shon works with a water sample from the Gowanus Canal.

Lynn Shon works with a water sample from the Gowanus Canal.

Tell us about…

…your school!

“M.S. 88 is located in South Slope, Brooklyn. I believe that what makes my school special is the culture of teacher collaboration, which has led to:

  1. A strong focus on integrated project-based learning
  2. Personalized and blended learning
  3. Teacher-led professional development

Our school is a great place to do restoration education because our teacher teams are very driven by using real world problems within the local environment to foster teaching, learning, and application of skills and content. Here is a blurb from our school’s website: ‘M.S. 88 is a three-year, Title I School-wide (6-8) middle school located in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn. We are a comprehensive middle school divided into small learning communities of lifelong learners who will experience success by receiving personalized attention that remains beyond the scope of traditional schools. We have created an environment that allows all students to respect themselves and their abilities. Our aim is to give all students the necessary emotional and academic support to build their self-esteem by setting high expectations that will lead to a sense of personal responsibility. M.S. 88 is strategically aligned with major universities, along with public and private companies, to support teacher development and enrich the learning experiences of our students.’

I teach an integrated 7th grade STEAM [Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics] ICT [Integrated Co-Teaching] and ENL [English as a New Language] class.”

…yourself!

“I received a B.S. in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology at Yale University. I came to teaching as a career changer through the NYC Teaching Fellows.  I was drawn to BOP because I am passionate about citizen science and about empowering my students to apply STEAM to address real problems. I am particularly interested in engaging my students as active stewards to improve the local water quality. In past years, I have worked with the Gowanus Canal Conservancy and the Earth Institute at Columbia University to design and organize student-driven projects and curricula around water quality in NY Harbor.  Also, as the science coach in my school, I have also helped create and facilitate scientist and residence programs and professional development to encourage active STEM application throughout the school.”

What is the nearest body of water to your school?

“Gowanus Canal.”

What’s something you’re proud of in your teaching, your school, or your students?

“My students and I won the grand prize for a national STEM competition for our proposal on improving the water quality in the Gowanus Canal. My students were also recognized by the Gowanus Canal Conservancy for their design proposals for the Lowe’s Esplanade on Gowanus at their annual EXPO. Here are two links (video and article) documenting these projects:

Designing Gowanus: https://vimeo.com/128987870

Forbes – Green Roof: http://www.forbes.com/sites/samsung/2013/12/02/could-a-green-roof-solve-brooklyns-toxic-waste-woes/#64daf14265c4 ”

What’s up next for your class?

“My students and I are currently finishing up a project that explores the relationship between plants and humans. The culminating performance task is for students to write an argumentative letter either to the Mars One Project or to our Principal advocating for either plants on Mars or a school garden.

Our next integrated project is focused on water quality, which we purposefully timed to align with our BOP fellowship. The essential questions include: ‘How do humans impact the Earth’s environment?’ ‘How can design impact the environment?’ and ‘How do various perspectives influence design/engineering decisions?’.  Every year, we visit the Gowanus Canal to test water quality and observe the biodiversity (or lack thereof). We will likely be making two visits to the Gowanus Canal during this project, and hopefully, to M.S. 88’s existing restoration station (monitored by teachers from Cohort 1).”

We’re so glad to have Lynn and all the other fellows aboard!  Click here to get to know the rest of Cohort Two.

Interested in reading more about BOP-CCERS and how we’re bringing hands-on restoration science to classrooms all over the city?  Sign up for our newsletter and click here to read all BOP-CCERS posts!