A two-time Blue Ribbon School, George Washington Carver High School of Engineering and Science, has been at the cutting edge of education, featuring gifted support and numerous enrichment opportunities for its students.
Located at 1600 W. Norris St., Carver has 920 students. The school is ranked highly in the School District of Philadelphia, and is considered one of the best college-preparatory public schools in the area.
“Where we’re going right now with the school is focusing on more than just STEM,” Principal Ted Domers said. “What I’ve seen over time is that calculus, computer science, engineering, and similar courses like that aren’t going anywhere, but we do want to continue to compliment those areas by building on other programming.
“We also want to focus on wellness. We received a grant over the summer to partner with the Inner Strength Foundation. We did three wellness and community building retreats to the Pendle Hills Quaker Center with our ninth graders. In our tenth grade chemistry classes, we have a 12-series workshop around stress.
“With our seniors, we’re doing a six-week session in March and April around how to transition out of high school,” he added. “We never want to get stagnant and complacent in what we’re doing here. We always want to make sure we’re providing our kids with the best opportunities.”
Domers said in addition to building on the school’s programming and focusing on the wellness of students, the school also wants to build on its social justice component.
“The teachers have been doing a read on the book “We Should All Be Feminists” by Adichie,” Domers said. “On Oct. 11, we did our first “One Book One E&S” where we broke the kids up across grade levels and classes and had book talks.
“Each teacher brought their own focal point to it. The biology teacher taught from a biological life sciences perspective of what does it mean to be a woman or man and how do we conceptualize what does gender mean.
“The English and history classes were looking at suffrage, so every teacher brought a different angle with the idea that when the kids came to the table they were going to talk about this book and learn from it from different perspectives,” he added. “There were able to share this experience with each other and have this discussion.”
Entering its second year, one class that has become popular among the students is Carver’s journalism class. Led by Kit Bradley, students in the class learn how to use their voices through writing.
“We’re really focused on helping students tell stories by using their voices through writing and journalism,” Bradley said. “We will be working with Marc Lamont Hill on a project that will model the Kensington Voice in the way that they take community issues, concerns, and then bring about some sort of solution. This year, students will also be learning the basics of format, research, citations, as well as all of the things that go into the logistics of writing.
“The students are currently working on writing individual articles that range in topic from immigration to gun control, some of the big hot-button issues that are affecting them,” she added. “They’re also working on putting together our first newscast for a biweekly YouTube channel, and building social media accounts for the newspaper the Carver Times.”
Junior Ethan Rodriguez joined Bradley’s journalism class as a way to write more about the things that interest him.
“I love to write and I usually write from the heart,” Ethan said. “However, when you right papers and essays you have to do them a certain way. I wanted to join the journalism class so that I can have more more wiggle room and freedom with my writing in school. Since being in this class, I’ve gotten a lot more informed about a lot of different things. I feel a bit more aware of the world and what’s going on in it, which really feels nice.”
Senior Bobbi Allen-Keys said that while she has learned a lot in the journalism class so far, they’re is one thing she wants to learn more about.
“I want to get to the more controversial topics,” Bobbi said. “I want to hear other people’s opinions on these topics and have a discussion about them. I know it’s going to be hard for me to hear other people’s opinions and not react to it in a negative way, but I feel it’s a skill set that everyone should have.”