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RecycleJack Marine's picture

I grew up in West Mount Airy, attending Oak Lane Day School and the Akiba Hebrew Academy. I attended Boston University and then Philadelphia Textile. I worked for 20 years in the Apparel Industry, then I went back to Cabrini College to get my Pennsylvania Certification and Masters in Education(1999).  I worked for six straight summers teaching nature at local camps, and I also taught Organic Gardening to neighborhood children in Bala Cynwyd, where I live. I am an avid organic gardener and recycling freak! This year I received Lower Merion Township’s first-ever Go For the Green award for a homeowner.


I spent this past year teaching elementary science in grades 1-5 at The West Philadelphia Achievement Elementary Charter School. There are 360 students in our school which starts in Kindergarten. I do not have my own science classroom for teaching science, although I do have a room for displaying science and living organisms. When I was hired at this school two years ago, the administration allowed me to physically bring to the school several cartons of science materials that I was storing at the school where I was last teaching. As a result of this “grant”, I had accumulated materials and other junk in

Six or seven small rooms in our school building. What is hard to visualize is that our school is housed in a huge monolithic building originally erected as The Pennsylvania Hospital for the Insane (built in 1859).


The complex structure has many halls and walkways, and in order to teach all of the classrooms, I have to walk several miles most days which is the total distance between

hallways back and forth, down and upstairs, etc. This past June, in an effort to retain my position, I voluntarily emptied four of these six storage rooms by using a large pickup truck and moving these materials to a garage I own in Port Richmond. Now that I have scaled down my “habitat” at my school, I hope I can focus much more on my tasks at hand that are required in my current teaching assignment.


During my first year at West Philadelphia Achievement Charter (WPACES), I taught some classes using assorted FOSS kits, and taught some classes using assorted science

curriculum materials I borrowed from other schools, or from science books I have amassed in ten years of teaching. Last year was different, as I used science kits in all classes by using some of the school’s FOSS kits and then using other science kits we received on loan from Asset Incorporated as part of a statewide grant titled Science It’s Elementary. Asset Incorporated is a consulting entity which manages all of the materials associated with this grant, sponsored by Governor Ed Rendell.