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Authentic Learning Flourishes at the Hildreth Campus
Collecting dirt. Examining leaves. Studying birds. Exploring the biodiversity of the Hildreth campus (Marlborough High School’s alternative high school) is how students of Matt McGrail, Environmental Science teacher, determined the health of the school’s outdoor property, or greater ecosystem this fall.
For approximately two months, a team of five students, Amanda Ayer (Project Leader), Tylor Dumais (Project Leader), Lauren Donovan, Angie Lumbra, and Gabe Ribeiro, spent hundreds of hours investigating and calculating the biodiversity of Hildreth’s campus. Accomplishing this challenge involved using an in-depth Field Ecology protocol calculation called, “Simpson’s Biodiversity index,” which integrates math, science and field studies data. By applying scientific methods, the group of students learned which plants could be planted and which ones could not be planted. Colorful displays of “Biodiversity at Hildreth” work provided strong evidence of the students’ scientific findings.
“This hands-on project gave us an overall picture what species would be attracted to the campus and flourish in the surrounding environment,” stated Taylor Dumais, one of the two project leaders. “This group experience required that each member focus on different aspects and then come together to share our findings. My role was to conduct soil science, which meant I got pretty dirty digging up different samples from across the campus to determine the Ph levels.”
Dumais further added, “Mr. McGrail helped bring all of us together to accomplish a significant project which we’re really proud of.” After graduating in spring 2018, Dumais plans to enter the air force where he will get to apply his passion for math. According to Dumais, “Math is like my wife.”
“I couldn’t be prouder of my students,” smiled McGrail. “When students come together by tackling and solving problems using their inquiry skills, great discoveries are made.”
Drug Awareness Workshop at Hildreth
Kathy Leonard & Keith Duplisea speak to students at Hildreth about the dangers of drugs, the importance of communicating with people who care about you, and making positive choices.
On Friday, June 2, Kathy and Keith visited students at the Hildreth School to share their poignant stories of loss and hope. They are connected through Jonathan, Kathy's son, who died of a heroine overdose at the age of 27 in 2015. Since the death of Kathy's son, she has made it her mission to educate others about the dangers of drugs. As the chair of the Marlborough Substance Use Prevention Coalition and a co-chair of the local chapter of the national organization GRASP (Grief Recovery After a Substance Passing), Kathy is dedicated to battling the opioid epidemic and reducing the stigma surrounding addiction.
Click here to hear Kathy's powerful message of hope, compassion, and moving forward
Click here to hear Keith's powerful story of drug addiction
Click here to hear Keith's inspirational story of recovery