Pictured: Bethpage Director of Science K-12 Chris Pollatos (right), Bethpage High School senior Sofia Maciel-Seidman (second right), Bethpage High School alumna Evanna Plakas (second left) and Bethpage High School senior Joy Kim (left) presented at the Bethpage Board of Education meeting on Nov. 21.
Photos courtesy of the Bethpage Union Free School District
The Bethpage Board of Education held its meeting on Nov. 21 at Kramer Lane Elementary School. Each school year, the board invites building principals, directors and students to share their wonderful programs at one of the district’s monthly board of education meetings. During this meeting, Director of Science K-12 Chris Pollatos presented on the Bethpage Union Free School District’s K-12 science program.
Mr. Pollatos provided some insight on the incredible work that teachers and students are doing within the science department. He discussed learning standards and the goal of having students enhance their skills of solving problems, thinking like scientists and approaching solutions. Mr. Pollatos also spoke about science field trips and STEM lessons, guest speakers who have visited classrooms, the high school’s science research program, student internship opportunities and more.
During his presentation, he noted an exciting shift in enrollment with more female students entering Bethpage’s science courses and clubs. Mr. Pollatos shared interesting statistics with the board and community to highlight this. For example, Advanced Placement Biology at Bethpage High School is 32% male and 68% female for the 2023-2024 school year.
To provide a student perspective, Bethpage High School seniors and science research students Sofia Maciel-Seidman and Joy Kim spoke about their own personal experiences in the district’s science program. Both Maciel-Seidman and Kim, along with their partner Riya Saha (not present at the meeting), earned a spot in the prestigious Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair last school year.
Maciel-Seidman spoke about conducting science experiments in elementary school and how that early introduction inspired her to join science research in middle school and then high school. Kim shared that her love of science happened later once she entered the high school and enrolled in science research. Both seniors spoke highly about their science research experience and the lessons they have learned.
In addition, Bethpage High School alumna Evanna Plakas, who graduated in 2018, spoke about how she developed a passion for research in the district and where that passion has taken her today. In high school, she was involved in science research, along with other AP science courses. Plakas shared that it led her to Stony Brook University and then to a job at Parker Hannifin where she is currently a quality engineer making jet fuel probes. She is also the only female and has established an excellent reputation among her male colleagues.
“It’s amazing to see how far I was able to go with the resources I had,” she said.
Mr. Pollatos concluded his presentation by reiterating how strong the district’s science program is and how proud he is to be part of it.