Chemistry in the Kitchen: Chocolate Soufflés

 

Heather Haines explains the secret to a perfect souffle
Heather Haines explains the secret to a perfect souffle

The most delicious of labs took place last week, as upper school chemistry students learned the science involved in making chocolate soufflés. Though teacher Heather Haines wore an apron as she folded stiffly beaten egg whites into melted chocolate, the lesson was more than a cooking demonstration. Students learned the properties of polar and non-polar molecules, the difference between hydrophilic and hydrophobic amino acids, and how the amino acids in egg whites rearrange themselves when beaten to form a non-polar pocket where air bubbles can be trapped and have room expand when exposed to heat—the secret to a perfect soufflé (see recipe below). Continue reading “Chemistry in the Kitchen: Chocolate Soufflés”

Meet The Bot Side

Building the robot Michelangelo
Building the robot Michelangelo

“The Bot Side” would make a great name for a café or a music club in Kendall Square — if it didn’t already belong to the CCSC robotics team, which is busy making a name for itself in the FIRST Tech Challenge. This is the second year The Bot Side has competed in the FTC, and the 13 team members are aiming to do even better than last year, when as rookies they won the Connect Award (for best outreach) at both the Arlington qualifying event and the FTC state competition. Continue reading “Meet The Bot Side”

Black History Month Tribute Paintings

The Rebirth of Malcolm X by Charde Hunt '13
The Rebirth of Malcolm X by Charde Hunt ’13

Our recent Black History Month Celebration included choral performances, student reflections, a guest speaker from Harvard and a slide show of artwork by the ten seniors enrolled in Studio Art, a yearlong credit-bearing course.

Art teacher Jessica DaSilva tasked the students with creating “tribute paintings” in acrylic that depict important achievements or leaders in African-American history. The assignment challenged the students to create the illusion of depth in the picture plane and to use analogous color that effectively emphasizes both the depth and the focal point of the composition.

The resulting images are spectacular. Here are they: Continue reading “Black History Month Tribute Paintings”

Can You Name Five?

Kellie Carter Jackson
Kellie Carter Jackson

At this morning’s Black History Month celebration, keynote speaker Kellie Carter Jackson described the “Name 5” game she plays with her students on the first day of class. The challenge of naming five famous people in each of these categories (African Americans, Latino Americans, disabled Americans, Native Americans and Asian Americans) regularly stumps Ms. Carter Jackson’s history students at Harvard, just as it did when she taught at Gonzaga University, but how can she fault them when, too often, history is told by the winners? Continue reading “Can You Name Five?”

Study Tips from Our Learning Specialists

Learning Specialist Day Farenga
Learning Specialist Day Farenga

How families can help their children be successful students was the topic of a recent meeting of the Parent-Guardian Association. The CCSC curriculum is rigorous, and teachers have high expectations for all students, but academic support is readily available. Continue reading “Study Tips from Our Learning Specialists”

Reading Suggestions for February Break

CCSC_Library1Overheard in the library today: “I’ve got to stock up on books for February break.”

Following a weekend bookended by two snow days and a with week of school vacation coming up, avid readers like 8th graders Rajai and Sandie, made a beeline to the CCSC library during lunch to replenish their supply of DEAR books.

From Black History Month and Valentine’s Day to Chinese New Year and the start of baseball spring training, February offers no shortage of themes to inspire readers of all inclinations. All CCSC students are expected to keep up, even redouble, their DEAR reading over break, and luckily librarian Barbara Post never runs short of suggestions to tempt even the most reluctant readers. All these titles were available to check out this morning; new additions to the collection get snapped up quickly, so don’t dally! Continue reading “Reading Suggestions for February Break”

Myth Busting: Charter School Accountabilty

CCSC earned a #1 ranking among public schools statewide
CCSC earned a #1 ranking among public schools statewide

Last weekend The New York Times ran an editorial that perpetuated one of the persistent myths about charters schools: that charters are not held strictly accountable for their students’ performance. We were dismayed by this across-the-board criticism, as charter schools in Massachusetts are subject to the most stringent accountability standards in the nation, including comprehensive reviews by the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, regular site visits, and the submission of annual financial reports. A school’s charter is granted for five years, and the DESE can decline to renew the charter if the school is not performing up to the standards set by the state.

Below we share a letter to the NYT editor from the Massachusetts Charter Public School Association, rebutting the criticism. We also note with pride that CCSC was one of the #1 ranked schools cited as evidence that charters schools in this area are outperforming other public schools, and are making great strides in closing the achievement gap among urban students. Continue reading “Myth Busting: Charter School Accountabilty”