Science Teacher & Curriculum Specialist for Science, Upper School, Avenues: The World School
Mike Maccarone is the science curriculum specialist at Avenues, an innovative private school in New York City that is intended to be the first of many such schools around the world. Before that, he taught for 8 years in the New Jersey public school system, where he helped guide a transition in high-school science teaching that changed the order of science subjects to teach physics first.
The transition required many science teachers to teach outside their comfort zone--and that yielded unexpected benefits, because teachers had to talk with one other about teaching methods much more than they ever had. "We found that all of our teaching improved," Mike says.
That experience led Mike to do graduate work on developing a more integrated science curriculum, which he is now implementing at Avenues. His goal is to break down the walls between traditional biology, chemistry, and physics to make the courses more open to wide-ranging ideas. "We can teach a science class that really mirrors what scientists do," he says. "We can teach all the same content, but we can also teach the skill of thinking more wholly about the subject and what the solutions might be."
Mike's vision for education in 2030 would have teachers taking best practices from around the world, but applying them in ways that suit the local needs of their own students.
Mike's interest in science grew out of his passion for music. He plays guitar, marimba, xylophone, bass guitar, piano, and saxophone. "A little bit of everything," he says.