Nine Galion High School students in Ms. Sara Lutz’s special education classroom showcased their science projects during a special event April 15.
Lutz, who originally invited a small group of parents, district staff and administration, wanted her students to present their projects to a small group. What she was not expecting was an outpouring of support from the entire High School student body and staff.
“My main motivation for doing the science projects with my students was to teach them the scientific method, have the experience of doing a science project and help them gain other skills,” Lutz said. “I’ve worked hard this year to make sure these students are more visible in the school and are practicing their social skills.”
The high school has a school store, and Lutz’s students sell popcorn to the staff and students on Friday. She told a few staff members about the projects, and the word spread quickly to the entire building.
“We had an amazing turnout, and I had no idea that it would end up being as busy as it was that day,” Lutz said. “These worked so hard on their experiments and their boards, and I wanted them to practice answering questions, work on their social skills and give them something they could be proud of.”
Throughout the development of their projects, Lutz’s students took responsibility for running their own experiments, documenting the results and putting together their boards. They got to learn about science through hands-on experience, which is very important for the special education class.
“I’ve heard comments about our classroom from students who aren’t familiar with us about being nervous or hesitant to visit,” Lutz said. “I have several students who can have behavior problems, and I’m glad other students got to see that my students aren’t that different from them and there isn’t anything to be nervous about. We needed this type of positive exposure.”
A school year long goal for Lutz was to have her students more involved and visible throughout Galion High School. Her students spend six periods a day in her room without spending much time with other students.
“I hate it and I want them to be more visible and give them more leadership roles throughout the building,” Lutz said. “These nine students never get a chance to shine and show people how capable they are because no one is ever willing to give them that chance. I want people to see their potential and maybe if I can get them more visible throughout the school it will eventually happen.”