BSGE is known for being one of the best high schools in New York City. With only 478 students from 7th to 12th grade, many students would agree that it is good to have a smaller, more intimate school environment where everyone knows, well, everyone. However, there are some drawbacks, for example, having such a small school building makes it difficult to walk in the hallways in between periods and having lockers that are accessible throughout the day. Many of us would agree, though, that one of the biggest problems is a lack of variety of classes.
One very important subject that our school is missing is a high school Physics class. There are two major reasons why we lack Physics at BSGE. First, we don’t have a Physics certified teacher working at the school.
Secondly, and perhaps a more difficult to solve reason, is a scheduling problem. Because of the structure of the IB program, the only year students could take Physics at BSGE would be in the 9th grade, whereas most other high schools offer physics to students in the 11th grade. At BSGE, students take Regents Chemistry in 10th grade, either IB SL Biology or SL Chemistry in 11th grade, and no science class in 12th grade. There is no room in students’ schedules for a science class in 12th grade because of IB requirements such as Theory of Knowledge. The problem BSGE has encountered in the past is that by 9th grade students generally have not learned enough math to grasp Physics in the 9th grade. Despite this, school like Stuyvesant have a class of freshmen who are taking physics.
Currently, BSGE 9th graders are taking Forensics instead of Physics. “Having Forensics was very fun, but having Physics might be more beneficial in the long run. Many colleges look for someone who took a Physics class” says Nuné M. ’17.
Amirah K. ’18 agrees and believes that “Physics might help us later in our schooling career, while Forensics would mostly only be useful if you work in a detective department for a job.”
BSGE used to have a 9th grade Physics class as well as an IB level Physics program in the past. The program ran from 2006-2009 with full time Physics teacher, Mr. Gregory Hofer. Students had mixed success in the class but the Physics program ended with the repeated budget cuts that downsized the science department by one position that was never replaced. BSGE’s current science teachers took on additional classes to cover the additional load and the Forensics class was created to match current staffing with the abilities with the needs of the Science department. Forensics is seen as a rigorous science class that helps prepare students for the demands of Regents Chemistry, IB Biology, and IB Chemistry.
Since scheduling Physics in the upper grades is not possible due to the IB curriculum, the major question now is, will BSGE ever manage to have this class, and will it be in the near future? Some possible solutions might be the “College Now” program from CUNY, which our school has been looking into or a private class outside of the public school system. It may also be possible to have a part-time physics teacher as we would not have enough students taking physics at any one time to warrant a full-time teacher. There could also be an after school Physics program if we could find a qualified teacher to run a program.
BSGE Senior Nicholas Tan, who plans on studying Pre-Med for his undergraduate degree commented, “I don’t think it’s a deal-breaker for BSGE not to have physics, but the administration needs to me more transparent when advertising the type of IB Curriculum offered.” He continued, “In other words, physical sciences are not our strong suit, and kids looking to apply here should be informed of that.”