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2010-02-28 / News

STC honeybee program receives MASA Winners’ Circle recognition

By Hillary Grigonis Staff Reporter

ST. CHARLES – The St. Charles School district was recognized last month for something that makes their science curriculum a little sweeter—honeybees.

The Michigan Association of School Administrators (MASA) inducted superintendent Michael Wallace and teacher Beth Moeller into the Winners’ Circle at the Midwinter Conference on January 28. Nine Michigan districts received the recognition this year for implementing a creative program that enhances learning. St. Charles was recognized for Moeller’s incorporation of honeybees and beekeeping into the eighth grade science curriculum.

Eighth graders take a test at the beginning of the year that identifies which scientific concepts they have mastered and which they have not. Moeller then uses the handson honeybee program to address the weaknesses. The program is incorporated into a variety of topics, from how essential bees are in the food chain to how the body reacts to a bee sting.

Students take a field trip to the local honey processing business T.M. Klein’s and Sons and visit Hartley’s Murphy Farm where the three hives are kept to extract and bottle the honey.

Since the program has been introduced, the eighth grade MEAP scores have improved from 82.2 percent in 2006 to 94 percent in 2008.

“[The program] has helped students make real life connections to the curriculum…they are more actively involved in learning and they take a greater interest in it,” Moller said.

The project has also extended beyond the eighth grade by involving other classes through decorating the hives, building honeybee gardens and more. High School students often volunteer to help with the honey extraction. The program has also involved special education instructor Jetta Stimac and community groups donating funds for the project.

The program, Superintendent Michael Wallace said, takes learning beyond visual and auditory learning and into kinesthetic, or hands on, learning.

“This is how Beth teachers day to day with students,” said Principal Pat Sowle.

“She is just a phenomenal teacher,” Wallace said. “Every district needs to have a Beth Moeller on their staff that creatively enhances learning and instruction.”

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