The Gale Academy of Environmental Science and Technology is a Choice Program at Forest Hill Community High School (FHCHS), now an International Baccalaureate (IB) World school. The Academy offers a hands-on approach to environmental science education that provides students with a strong platform of knowledge and skills to achieve their career goals.
The Academy is named for the late philanthropist and author Mary E. “Meg” Gale, a strong advocate of science and environmental education. Mary Stratos, Principal of FHCHS, oversees the Academy and Academy Coordinator and Science Teacher, Shawn McCall. The Academy is located at 6901 Parker Avenue, West Palm Beach, Fl 33405, and the phone number is 561-540-2400.
The Academy provides students with the critical thinking skills necessary to excel not only in the sciences but in whatever career path they choose. In the classroom/laboratory, students have available advanced technology to engage in self-paced learning and collaborative research. The innovative curriculum incorporates advanced-placement and honors-level courses in all subject areas.
This upcoming year, EAS teachers will be developing classroom lessons targeted at real life practices in the field of environmental studies. Classroom instruction is reinforced by grade-level appropriate field studies, on-the-job training, Science Fair projects, and similar activities to develop critical-thinking skills and their ability to apply instruction to real-life situations.
In 2011 Academy students began assisting South Florida Water Management Staff with a four-year monitoring program by collecting water-quality data at the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge’s macrocosm (LILA), which is used to test Everglades Restoration concepts. Academy students are also engaged in a continuing program of monitoring water-quality at the Southern Boulevard Bridge in West Palm Beach.
In addition, overnight and day-trips are taken to Riverwoods Field Laboratory on the Kissimmee River, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute in Fort Pierce, Payne’s Prairie in northern Florida, the Florida Keys, and the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. These trips are planned to reinforce classroom learning while demonstrating research techniques.
Gale Academy of Environmental Science and Technology students are also required to develop Science Fair projects each year. Last year, fifteen students qualified to compete in the Palm Beach County Science Fair and one was chosen to compete in the Florida Science Fair.
Academy students engage in community service projects to build and to demonstrate personal and civic responsibility. The Academy encourages students to select projects that build environmental awareness. These projects have included establishing the Snook Islands in Lake Worth and assisting the Arthur R. Marshall Foundation with plantings of cypress and pond apple on Torry Island in Lake Okeechobee.