By Pat Sargent, UMass Chan Medical School
Lake View Elementary School students and their science teacher were surprised with special gifts – including lab coats and microscopes – from UMass Chan Medical School on November 29, 2023, in celebration of their high scores in last year’s statewide MCAS exam.
Twenty-eight sixth-grade students received UMass Chan lab coats embroidered with the words “Scientist-in-training” and “Advancing Together.”
Nearly 70 percent of the sixth-grade students at Lake View earned a proficient score (at or above grade level) on the science and technology/engineering portion of the MCAS (short for Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System) exam in the spring as fifth graders. The collective score was the highest of any school in the Worcester school district and doubled the previous year’s science and technology/engineering score.
Science teacher Linda McSweeney also received an embroidered lab coat in recognition of her daily commitment to teaching and learning and was celebrated in the school’s auditorium by family, fellow teachers, staff members and rows of fifth- and sixth-grade students.
“I always have high expectations for my students, and I know how difficult the MCAS can be. The fact that they concentrated and did their very best is just a tribute to their hard work,” said McSweeney, who has been teaching at Lake View for nearly 40 years.
“It is evident that Mrs. McSweeney has lit something in these students. Every day they walk out of her classroom, they’ve walked away learning something new. And that’s been her commitment day in and day out,” said Lake View principal Erin McMahon.
The lab coats were designed and donated by the ScienceLIVE team, a STEM outreach program managed by staff from the RNA Therapeutics Institute and the Sanderson Center for Optical Experimentation, and the Office of Outreach Programs at UMass Chan.
The school also received 25 light microscopes from the science and engineering department at South High Community School in Worcester.
Lake View, just a mile away from UMass Chan, is among the 11 city schools that are part of the North Quadrant Support Services Initiative, a community partnership to address socioeconomic barriers to academic success. This partnership between UMass Chan and Worcester Public Schools is made possible through grant funding from the Remillard Family Community Service Fund and UMass Chan employee donations.
UMass Chan was represented during the presentation by Robert Layne, MEd, assistant dean of outreach programs at UMass Chan and director of the Worcester Pipeline Collaborative; Brian Lewis, PhD, the George F. Booth Chair in the Basic Sciences, professor of molecular, cell & cancer biology, and assistant vice provost for outreach and recruitment; and Mary Pickering, PhD, director of public engagement with science for the RNA Therapeutics Institute.