Fairmont Area creates new science classes
FAIRMONT — Fairmont Area Schools has a good mix of veteran and new teachers. While each brings with them a wealth of knowledge and an eagerness to instruct students, new teachers may bring new opportunities.
Two of Fairmont High School’s newest science teachers, Adam Bloomgren and Josiah Passe, have special licensures that will allow the school to offer more science classes.
“Having two new physics/chemistry-based teachers is kind of a phenomenal task for our school because of the shortage of physics and chemistry teachers out there,” explained Principal Kim Niss.
“It really allowed us to rethink what we offer for science classes because you need to have the right licensed teachers to teach some of the classes. Having these two on board, along with Mrs. (Louise) Ostlie, we are very fortunate,” she said.
New classes include an electricity and magnetism class that will explore how electricity works from a physics perspective. A digital electronics class will explore electrical engineering. Two other classes have been proposed — an introduction to 3D printing and computer-aided design, and an advanced 3D printing and CAD class. Both will teach skills that engineers use.
“STEM is an area that we wanted to put emphasis on and grow,” Niss explained. “Having Josiah and Adam added to the science department has made us able to add more classes for our students.”
She went on to say that during the Dollars for Scholars banquet, when students indicate what they plan to study or are studying while in college, many indicate engineering.
“We know our graduates go into this area so being able to offer more classes to them prior to them going to college will be helpful,” Niss said.
The new classes are mostly intended for juniors and seniors but some sophomores could take them if they have taken the required prerequisite classes, including advanced algebra.
Passe said the skills learned in the classes will be transferable and could be used in the STEM field.
“We hope we can spark their interest soon and keep it going through college,” Blomgren said of students.
Bloomgren, originally from Butterfield, graduated from Minnesota State-Mankato in the spring of 2018 with a degree in science teaching, with an emphasis on physics. He has been with the district all school year, teaching physics and earth science.
Passe is originally from Redwood Falls and graduated in the fall of 2018 from St. John’s University with a major in natural science education, with an emphasis in physics. He was hired as a long-term substitute for Nicole Kesselring and teaches ninth-grade physical science. He will be teaching more next school year.
The pair explained why it is a rarity for the district to have two teachers such as themselves.
“There’s not a lot of teachers out there that have a license to teach physics,” Passe explained.
“I know one person who has the same degree that Josiah has. There’s very few people with physics education majors,” Blomgren said.
“We took a lot of the same classes that engineers take. A lot of them went on to become engineers but we did it because we like teaching,” Blomgren said.
Both men are eager to teach the new classes and realize how beneficial they will be for students.
“It’s super unique for a school district to be able to offer classes like this,” Passe said. “We have enough science teachers that we don’t have to just teach the required core classes; we can teach electives that are interesting and can prepare kids for what they want to study in college.”
Fairmont High School students are currently meeting with counselors during FAST time and being presented course offerings for next school year. Parents can find a list of the offerings on the school’s website — www.fairmontareaschools.portal.rschooltoday.com — under directory and courses for 2019-20.