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Meet the Fellows 2016: Olivia Bello

By Heather Flanagan
May 31, 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 Olivia Bello of KAPPA III in the South Bronx.

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Tell us about…

…your school!

“My school is KAPPA III in the South Bronx, 2055 Mapes Ave, about 3 blocks from the zoo.  Our school focuses on literacy, arts, and leadership.  We promote courage, character, and caring.  My school is a great place to do restoration education because my students are very invested in project based learning.”

…your students!

“[I teach] 6th grade science.  My students are energetic and curious.  Since some students are currently working on collecting Bronx River data, I think they will have a vested interest in the BOP project.  I teach 3 gen ed, 1 ICT, and 1 self contained class.”

…yourself!

“I attended a performing arts high school where I studied classical ballet.  Then I went to a liberal arts women’s college called Agnes Scott College where I majored in Biology and minored in Dance.  I’m currently working on my M.S. in Teaching Secondary Biology 7-12.  I was drawn to the BOP because I’m always looking for opportunities for my students to engage in meaningful long term science investigations.”

What is the nearest body of water to your school?  Where would you like to site your restoration station?

“Bronx River or Inwood Hills Park because we can get there easily on the 12 select bus.”

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

“Recently my students in STEM club came up with a spring research question about the Bronx River, and we’re going to be able to bring the kids down to the river to collect data and analyze it.”

What’s going on with your class right now?

“My students are so excited about our future oyster restoration station.  Currently, my students are learning about the New York Harbor and the skills necessary for monitoring our own tank and restoration site.  My students were thrilled to use the BOP water quality test equipment and protocol at our local river these past few weeks.  Thanks to BOP my students can be exposed to so much hands on learning which really makes science class more meaningful for everyone involved.”

We’re so glad to have Olivia 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!