Loudoun County Public Schools Academy of Science

George Wolfe and Duke Writer, Loudoun Academy of Science; Odette Scovel, Loudoun County Public Schools
In partnership with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Loudoun Academy of Science (AOS) was formed to provide students with an integrated, inquiry-based math and science curriculum culminating in a two-year independent research project in math modeling or science. In this session, the presenters will delineate the steps in forming the AOS, the overall structure and curriculum of the program, and the techniques they use to facilitate research in math and science.

About the Presenters:
George Wolfe, Director, Loudoun Academy of Science
George Wolfe is the founder and director of the Loudoun Academy of Science (AOS) in Virginia. Students attend this STEM magnet on alternate days. The curriculum highlights inquiry and integration, preparing students to complete a two-year independent research project and at least two years of calculus. Wolfe has over 30 years of teaching and curriculum writing experience. His teaching career started in Zaire, Africa, where he taught in the Peace Corps. Wolfe taught in the Rochester City Schools until leaving to start the AOS in 2005. In addition, Wolfe has authored several publications including “The Nasonia Project,” a lab series built around the genetics and behaviors of a parasitic wasp, as well as “Thinkwell’s Biology,” a CD lecture series used in freshman biology courses in many AP and college programs throughout the U.S. Wolfe has also been an Emmy winning television host for the PBS/WXXI production of Homework Hotline, and wrote and performed in “Football Physics” segments for the Buffalo Bills and the Discovery Channel. He has served on multiple advisory boards, including the Cornell Institute of Physics Teachers, the Cornell Institute of Biology Teachers, and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics SportSmarts curriculum project. He has received numerous awards, including the NSTA Presidential Excellence Award, The National Association of Biology Teachers Outstanding Biology Teacher Award for New York State, and The Shell Award for Outstanding Science Educator. In 2004, he was inducted into the National Teaching Hall of Fame. Wolfe also completed and was awarded National Board Certification by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Wolf holds a BA in Biological Sciences from the State University of New York, Brockport, and earned his New York State Teacher Certification from the State University of New York, Geneseo.
Duke Writer, Math and Science Teacher, Loudoun Academy of Science
Duke Writer has been a math and science teacher at the Loudoun Academy of Science (AOS) in Virginia since 2006. Prior to teaching, he worked in econometric and statistical modeling before being driven to rug chewing apoplexy working on the “Y2K bug.” Writer’s time with both freshmen and sophomores integrates physical science inquiry with student-designed lab investigations and predictive/analytical mathematical models using spreadsheets (such as Excel and the TI-83+). As a research and statistical analysis mentor, he takes the experiences gained in 2+ years of introductory modeling to direct students into high level math modeling research projects. Some examples of student-designed projects include modeling the spread and growth of invasive species (viz. the Zebra Mussel), the epidemiology and spread of Lyme disease, and the growth/decay of a cancerous tumor after “magic bullet” treatments. Writer graduated from Bowdoin College and University of Virginia.
Odette Scovel, Science Supervisor, Loudoun County Public Schools
Odette D. Scovel is the science instructional supervisor (K–12) for Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) in Virginia, one of the fastest growing jurisdictions in the nation, with over 70,000 students. The goal of STEM education at LCPS is to deepen students’ knowledge, skills, and habits of mind that characterize science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Loudoun County Public Schools has many exemplary programs designed to answer the call for STEM education. LCPS offers students a variety of STEM courses and opportunities that are rigorous, demanding, and help students develop skills required for the 21st century. Scovel began her teaching career in Norfolk City Public Schools and taught in the Department of Defense Dependent Schools (Italy) before coming to Loudoun as a classroom teacher. She has been supervisor of Loudoun’s science programs since 2001. Scovel has a BS in Biology from Old Dominion University and an MEd from George Mason University.