New students, new laptops, and Mr. Madden

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What with it already being October in the 2014-15 school year at Frank Sinatra School of the Arts (FSSA), there is a plethora of new things to report. New students, new laptops, and Stony Brook alumnus Daniel Madden. Mr. Madden, the new Earth Science teacher, is excited to be here.

Mr. Madden commenced his teaching adventures eight years ago. Originally a Pre-Kindergarten teacher for autistic children, Mr. Madden decided to veer into a more challenging post, which would more utilize his talents as a scientist. This eventually introduced him to the New York Department of Education (DOE).

However he did not specifically decide to become an Earth Science teacher. He was instead assigned to teach the subject by the DOE at Harry S. Truman High School, without any experience. From there he went on to take classes and received his Master’s Degree in Earth Science at Lehman College.

Being a new teacher is always hard, and there is no exception for Mr. Madden. “It’s tiring. There’s a lot to learn in a short amount of time,” says Mr. Madden. Bell schedules, new procedures and a new set of coworkers make it difficult to quickly acclimate to the new environment.

Fortunately, according to Mr. Madden, the environment in FSSA is positive and inviting. With students being fairly close to equal in needs and being accepting of each other. Mr. Madden is pleased with FSSA and is looking forward to teaching and learning with the students as the year progresses. However, he is concerned with short classes that make it difficult for teachers and students alike to fully immerse themselves in the topic. He says double periods would be better, especially for labs as they take time away from the lessons.

“Putting the academic aspect with the practical aspect is not the easiest thing,” he adds. Especially when it comes to the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) program, which will give students a full ride to a SUNY or CUNY if they major in science, technology, engineering or mathematics. The program is intended to increase the number of scientists and eventually develop a more involved and productive science community in the state. The program requires taking extensive science and math courses, and in order for it to create the positive and revolutionary outcome in the fields it seems to be striving for, there must be an improvement in high school science courses and in NY State regents.

For now however, Mr. Madden is happy with FSSA and his students are happy with him.

“He’s makes the class interesting. He really grasps our attention,” says junior drama major, Franco Rojas.

The year has barely begun and already kids are warming up to their new teacher. It is certainly a good thing and something future FSSA students can look forward to.

– by Brianne Nichtenhauser ’15

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