Champion for Biotechnology Education: Jonathan Shapiro
Jonathan Shapiro is Science Department Head at Brockton High School and a graduate of BioTeach. Shapiro will be honored for his role in the conception and development of a four-year biotechnology program at Brockton High School and his continuing efforts to grow the program. Before working at Brockton, Shapiro taught at Sandwich High School, Swampscott High School and Salem State University. He has been an educator for 16 years and at Brockton for six of those years.
In 2014, Brockton High School began a transformation of its facilities with the intent to enhance their STEM initiative. MassBioEd is proud to have supported Shapiro and Brockton High School from 2013-14 in these efforts through the BioTeach program. Shapiro explains that the life sciences program at Brockton High School was designed to prepare students to approach, understand and overcome challenges in their college, career and personal lives as the world evolves. Experiments and investigations are the most effective methods of teaching life sciences concepts, problem-solving and critical thinking skills, which industry representatives stress are the most significant workforce skills to possess. As Shapiro put it, “The Brockton High School Biotechnology Pathway is designed to train the next generation of scientists for the Massachusetts biotechnology economic engine.”
Of the first Brockton BioTeach cohort students, 16 are now in college and the majority of them selected a STEM major. Currently, there are 257 students in the Brockton biotechnology program. Elective course offerings include IB Biology, AP Biology, AP Environmental Science, Human Physiology, Bioethics, Oceanography, Ecology, Horticulture and Urban Landscape and Design.
“I’m extremely proud of the work that I do in this job as it impacts a large number of students, the professionals with whom they learn and the greater community. We are a very poorly funded school that has been able to build an amazing facility and program. We’ve built a planetarium, state of the art biotechnology lab and gardens that beautify the campus, benefit the homeless and are used across the school. I see students finding success as they take advantage of opportunities through their science programs. Students enjoy their science experiences and have the ability to see themselves in the field. This effective component of learning is absolutely essential for the future of students’ education and is the accomplishment to which I look.”
Teachers and students joined Shapiro as presenters at the 2015 STEM Summit to share the story of their approach and strategy to help other schools envision and build the programs that can help their students excel. MassBioEd helped to provide the supplies and training to transform teachers’ vision of science education into a reality for students. Teachers were able to create unique and incredible opportunities for them.
MassBioEd is pleased to honor Shapiro for his outstanding commitment to life sciences education and look forward to presenting him with the Annual 2016 Champions for Biotechnology Education Award on November 16th. Please join us and MassBioEd at the UMass Club to celebrate biotechnology education in Massachusetts.