THE SUPERINTENDENT'S PROGRAM
Ten years ago, a special enrichment program for the district's gifted students started at Dyker. The Superintendent's Program, SMArT Kids, under the auspices of the District Superintendent, Mr. Vincent Grippo, gives those who are interested in Science, Mathematics, Architecture and Technology an opportunity to enhance their studies in a unique program.
The students in the SMArT Kids Program have an extended school day of nine periods during which they receive an extra period of math or science daily, depending on the school semester. This extra period is either devoted to laboratory investigations, computer assisted design projects, or to the utilization of computer technology to solve problems presented in computer simulations.
The SMArT Kids Program enriches the normal mathematics curriculum. The students are taught the normal math curriculum for grades 6, 7, and 8 during the first two years at Dyker. In their double period of math, students have the time to explore many different areas in math that are both interesting and beyond the normal course of study.
Some of these special areas are as follows:
The Stock Market Game - Students are "given" $100,000 to buy and sell stocks during a ten week period. During the game students must consider economic factors and their impact on business decisions. Stock purchases are executed, portfolios amassed and data displayed using computer spreadsheets.
Tessellations - Students explore the art of M.C. Escher's mathematical principles in art.
Bridge Building Project - Students explore the three different types of bridge designs. They discover the principals of engineering and apply them in the design and construction of their own bridges.
Classroom, Inc. is a computer simulation program. The students are presented with a real life problem to solve, one which incorporates topics from the science, math, language arts and social studies curricula. The students work in cooperative learning groups to develop solutions, incorporating concepts covered in the aforementioned academic subjects. The data being considered is displayed on the computer using spread sheets and databases.
CAD, a sophisticated computer assisted design program, is included in the research and design phases of the program. Computer-assisted learning helps students research and design interactivity, and access many information sources such as CD-ROM encyclopedias, access the Internet, and share findings with other students and professionals via e-mail. The following topics enrich the math curriculum: tessellation art, enlargements and distortions, the building of toothpick bridges, towers and geodesic domes. These projects reveal the math behind architecture and design and clearly demonstrate the value of math in the real world.
The science curriculum is enhanced by the presence of a lab specialist who prepares hands-on experiments and as part of the Laboratory Internship Program trains students in specialized laboratory techniques. Educational trips and guest speakers highlight the program.
In addition to the regular science curriculum, a common theme of architecture and design spans each grade level. The Architecture and Design Program incorporates state-of-the-art teaching strategies, such as cooperative learning, problem-solving and critical thinking skills. This program enables the students to gain a perspective about architecture in different subject areas including science, math, technology, social studies and humanities. This multidisciplinary program is taught across three grades as follows: An Overview of Basic Architectural Principles (Grade 6), the Art of Recycling and Environmental Protection (Grade 7), and Alternative Energy Sources (Grade 8).
In Grade 8, the Superintendent's students take Regents courses in Sequential Math and Earth Science and accelerated courses in Language Arts and Foreign Language. Their achievements are assessed by the New York State Regents Exams and Proficiency Examinations taken in June of eighth grade.