Brookline yields achievements in STEM fields
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To be in the top 5 percent of any competition is a great achievement, but to be in the top .08 percent is outstanding. This year the high school has managed to accomplish that for math and science.
With over 35,000 high schools scattered across the United States, this year BHS is ranked 32 in the nation for STEM according to the US News and World Report.
Science Curriculum Coordinator Ed Wiser said that the high school’s ranking reflects positively on both the school and the town. He said the high ranking is a collaborative effort of the Brookline School System and the hard work put in by both students and teachers throughout their learning careers.
“It takes the top 500 high schools in the country in terms of achievement compared to other schools in their state,” Wiser said. “It ranks them based on their diversity and their state scores in terms of math and English. So it’s a school and district success as far as I’m concerned.”
The US News and World Report rankings include both public and private schools, some of which require an entrance exam to be enrolled in, and some specialize in math and science. According to Wiser, the high school’s rankings would have moved up even further if charter or magnet schools, which specifically draw in students for STEM subjects, had not been included.
“If you were to scrape away those selection schools and figure out which ones are just public schools, we are way up there,” Wiser said.
Although the high school is ranked extremely high, Wiser said that most often students are not aware of the rankings and feel no extra pressure to excel in that manner. According to Wiser, students reasonings for taking an Advanced Placement course has changed. Nowadays students enroll so that these courses will aid them in college acceptance; whereas, in the past students enrolled in the AP courses for educational college preparation.
Chemistry teacher Lexi Murphy said she notices that more and more students are taking AP courses since she has started teaching. She said this is because of both teachers’ skill levels, as well as pressure from other students.
“We, teachers, like to think some of that has to do with kids wanting to have the teachers again, but also I think there is more pressure by society and also from their peers to take as many AP classes as they can,” Murphy said.
Mathematics Curriculum Coordinator Joshua Paris credits math and science teachers for the high school’s high performance level and teachers’ consistent effort to increase their students’ desire to learn.
“I think it’s based on our amazing teachers who put in countless hours to create courses that engage and inspire our students,” Paris said. “They work tirelessly to engage the students in the learning process and to design activities in which students can actively develop their understanding.”
According to Murphy, Brookline’s location, surrounded by distinguished universities and research facilities, has also helped shape the learning culture of the high school and its focus on math and science.
“Brookline is well situated in a part of the country surrounded by really amazing research universities and hospitals,” Murphy said. “So a lot of students have parents that are really interested in science, or are otherwise high achieving, and have passed their love of learning things onto their kids.”
According to Wiser, being ranked 32 in the nation for STEM schools is a reflection of many different aspects of the entire Brookline School District.
“I would just like to highlight that this is not just a science department success, this is the whole school’s success,” Wiser said. “It’s collaborate, all the way through the elementary schools. I think it’s an amazing education achievement. It takes into account the richness and diversity that we have as well. There are so many programs that we have to offer and so many kids are successful.”
Elene Chamberlin can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org