Editor’s Note: The following post is the fifth part of a series on “The Great Diseases Project: A Partnership Between Tufts Medical School and the Boston Public Schools,” in which AM Rounds asked a few of the projects’ participants to share their thoughts and impressions on the collaboration.
Eugene Roundtree, MEd (principal piloting teacher and a teacher, Madison Park Technical and Vocational High School, Boston, Massachusetts):
I participated in this project because I wanted my vocational high school students to have an opportunity to learn in more depth about subjects they might have some familiarity with from their Biology I classes. The high-stakes testing environment creates tension between covering the wide range of topic areas in the state standards and exploring those topics deeply and in a way that engages students. The Great Diseases Project provides meaningful opportunities for students to explore Biology content in new and exciting ways. Investigating these topics in more depth allows students to leverage their prior knowledge while learning new concepts and vocabulary. Teachers are under pressure to cover everything, and students are under pressure to learn the wide range concepts and vocabulary that they will be tested on. I participate in the partnership because I want to make sure that the curriculum utilizes multiple instructional approaches that my students engage with, make learning itself a collaborative experience. Like Aimee, I think teachers need support when they’re bringing on board new curricula, and I’ve valued having a hand in deciding what instructional support around the underlying science and the pedagogy is needed to deliver each lesson in the classroom.