by Nkwanda Jah
In 2011, Cultural Arts Coalition (CAC) decided we were going to do something about the low FCAT scores in East Gainesville—“No Participation, No Right to Observation”
We created 2 programs: Williams Elementary and Caring and Sharing School After School Sciences Program.
At the end of the school year, an article appeared in the Guardian Newspaper about a student at Caring and Sharing scoring the highest possible score, a 5, on the FCAT Science section. That student gave a lot of credit to our Science Program.
This past school year (our third year) Caring and Sharing had a majority of their 5th grade students scoring 4s and 5s on their Science FCAT section. The principal gave a lot of credit to our Science Program that now serves their 4th and 5th graders.
We have grown from 2 sites to 9 sites where we are having science clubs. We have weekly Science Programs at Cone Park Library, Wilhelmina Johnson Center, Williams Elementary and Caring and Sharing (2 Programs). We also have programs at 2 Kids Count sites, Williams Temple Church, and Mt. Carmel Church.
None of this would have been possible without our volunteers. We also have two incredible Ambassadors, Dr. Jackson Sasser and Dr. Owen Roberts.
Our successes with the program are not just the wonderful scientists, but the knowledge they bring is totally interactive. These elementary-age children are learning physics, chemistry and biology through observation and participation. They are all having fun while they learn.
We have more than 60 Science individuals and organizations volunteering. The response to our request for community Science Partners has been very positive.
The Science volunteers have said that it has been a very positive experience sharing their area of the sciences with the children in an atmosphere where fun is expected.
We work with the Alachua County Public Schools Science curriculum, so hopefully what they are studying in the classroom is being demonstrated in our program.
Our volunteers are physicists, chemists, biologists, geologists, horticulturists, entomologists, bee keepers, astronomers, zoologists and the Association of Women in Science. Our volunteers are from the Harn Museum, the Planetarium, the Cade Museum, the Sierra Club and Lubee Bat Conservancy.
On Dec 8, Dr. Roberts and the CAC Board of Directors will host a Holiday Social to thank all of our volunteers from this program and also the 5th Ave Arts Festival, Environmental Ambassadors and our Environmental Youth Summit.
Please call 352-372-0216 if you want to volunteer in our exciting programs. You can also visit our website www.culturalartscoalition.org for more info on CAC. D