STEM Supervisor Jerrod Blair applies the enthusiasm and excitement he sustained in the classroom and spreads it to teachers and students across the Eastchester School District.
"I want to open doors for students with 21st Century applications of STEM, specifically, robotics and coding. The earlier all students are exposed to these innovative topics, the more their comfort level will travel with them, and they will be less intimidated. As a result, access to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics will be more equitable."
Blair assumed this newly created curricular position at the end of August and works closely with the Supervisor of Humanities, Susan Chester, Supervisor of Guidance, Kristen Shearer, and Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, Scott Wynne.
"First and foremost, I am building relationships," said Blair. "Teachers, students, and parents are becoming more comfortable with knowing who I am and what my role encompasses. I have spoken to first-grade teachers at Waverly to discover their experience with our Go Math! program and Science 21. The AP Calculus, AP Chemistry, and College Physics teachers at Eastchester High School have offered critical and insightful information to me as they witness the final progression of the skill-sets learned by each student as they prepare for college and careers."
Blair also oversees the curriculum development surrounding the newly adopted New York State Science Learning Standards and the Next Generation Math Standards. One of Blair's goals is to develop, enhance, and implement the concept of vertical curriculum alignment, where teachers on each grade level build upon the academic experiences of each year.
“Through vertical curriculum alignment we can ensure that New York State and College Board standards are being met, while promoting a fluid experience for our students. Instead of discreet grade-level experiences, I’m focused on the entire STEM experience, K-12.”
He taught seventh-grade Science at the Louis M. Klein Middle School in the Harrison Central School District for seven years and then AP Chemistry, Regents Chemistry, and Regents Living Environment at Harrison High School.
While in Harrison, Blair participated in three Administrative Internships: at the District level, the building level as well as in the community, volunteering 100 hours at The LOFT in White Plains.
“I was fortunate to build on my teacher leadership through these administrative internships. I spearheaded projects such as convening a committee of teachers on developing a more character-based academic awards process, building a Google Site to manage building-level information, and publishing a brochure for The LOFT to disseminate information about important community programs to Westchester schools support staff.”
He accepted several teacher leadership opportunities in Harrison as part of its mentoring program, technology committee, teaching a summer professional development course and participating in several study groups on current topics in education such as literacy across the content areas and flexible learning spaces.
"I loved being in a teacher leadership role, and when I took on the challenge of teaching AP Chemistry and the Regents Chemistry and Living Environment courses after teaching at the middle level, I dove headfirst into re-learning college-level content and rebuilding the curriculum to prepare students for higher level International Baccalaureate coursework. My practice was also influenced by the International Baccalaureate Learner Profile and continues to drive my philosophy as an administrative leader."
Blair most recently completed a Professional Diploma in Educational Leadership at Manhattanville College. He is currently a candidate in Manhattanville College’s Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership with an anticipated graduation in 2020. He earned a Master of Education in Science Education 7-12 and a Bachelor of Arts in Biological Sciences from the State University of New York University at Buffalo.
As the STEM Supervisor, Blair collaborates with teachers, but he also acts as a student-advocate.
"Even though my primary role is to coordinate curriculum and professional development with my teachers, I am still a teacher at my core. I enter classrooms, and I introduce myself. I ask students ‘Do you know what STEM is?’, and I assist EHS and EMS students who want to adjust their schedules or evaluate their course selection," explained Blair.
Blair's first impressions of Eastchester and its programs are very positive.
"I felt welcomed and respected for my background and expertise from day one. Everyone has been excited about the role. Our students are high-performers and involved in many extra-curricular activities. This is wonderful to see and it is exciting to be part of this energetic and active community. These are exciting times in Eastchester."
When he's not meeting with teachers or involved in his studies, Blair enjoys traveling and taking cruises with his family and friends. Most recently Blair embarked on an Alaskan cruise.
“Seeing the Hubbard Glacier from 500 feet away was inspiring and only solidified my belief in experience-based learning. You can teach students about glaciers in the classroom all you want, but seeing it and hearing it in person is a completely different story.”