Calasso Represents Becton at NJSC 2022 – The Cat’s Eye View

One of our own, Ms. Angela Calasso, recently represented Becton at the 2022 New Jersey Science Convention! Over the summer, the NJSC sent out an email seeking teachers interested in presenting at the 2022 fall science convention. Calasso immediately contacted Kira Loh, his potential co-presenter at the convention, and they wrote and submitted their proposal. Loh is good friends with Calasso and also teaches biology at a nearby district, Lodi High School. The two met at Rutgers graduate school and shared their passion for teaching biology. Calasso enthused, “We would often sit in a café for hours fine-tuning our lesson plans and researching effective teaching methods and practices. When I had the opportunity to present at the NJ Science Convention, I knew I wanted to collaborate with her again.

The NJSC theme this year was “Helping All Students Find Their Voice”. Calasso and Loh presented “Building and Sustaining Culturally Responsive Science Classrooms” where they discussed the importance of establishing classroom community and using culturally relevant science phenomena to engage students in achieve academic excellence. In the presentation, Calasso explained how she builds classroom community by co-constructing classroom norms and expectations with her students, which she has been doing since her first year. She also talked about two activities that encourage students to get involved in their community. One such activity is the NJ Air Quality Flag program that our Environmental Club has just launched with the Department of Environmental Protection. This program is a great way for students to evaluate scientific data and raise community awareness by raising a flag to indicate good, moderate, or poor air quality that can directly affect sensitive people. Overall, Calasso explained how she spends time getting to know her students and their community so that she can integrate students’ cultural, social and linguistic capital into her lessons to help students achieve academic success and feel a sense of belonging in the classroom.

The NJ Department of Environmental Protection visits and teaches the environmental club the importance of monitoring air quality to improve health!

While Calasso was at the science convention, she had the honor of connecting with many other science teachers and was able to gain new tools and strategies that she can incorporate into her own classroom. Calasso was proud to represent Becton at NJSC, “Having the opportunity to represent Becton as a presenter was so special to me because I am proud of our school district and always eager to share our outstanding student experiences. My experience at Becton and the support I get from my colleagues and administration is really what gave me the confidence to present at this state convention. This is something I never imagined I would do so early in my career, however, the support I receive at Becton has equipped me and empowered me to take advantage of this incredible professional development opportunity.

To see Mrs. Calasso and the Environmental Club grow, follow their Twitter!