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Florida State University

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Clausell Mathis
Paul Cottle

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High school physics is in steep decline in the State of Florida.  Physics enrollment in the state’s public schools has dropped 8% in the last three years. 

Physics is not the only high school science subject in decline in Florida.  Chemistry enrollment has declined 9% in only two years. 

Great teachers are the best hope for reversing these trends, and there are examples of how great teaching can attract students to physics classrooms – and to being better prepared for college STEM majors – all around Florida. 

At Tallahassee’s Godby High School, where former school Teacher of the Year Zondra Clayton teaches and where the eligibility rate for free and reduced-price lunches is near 90%, students take physics at about twice the rate of the state at large. 

In Bay County’s high schools, concentrated efforts by the district’s physics teachers and counselors increased the enrollment in physics classes by a factor of five in three years.

At Seminole County’s Lake Mary High School, a wide range of efforts – including physics demonstrations during the halftimes of football games – maintain a culture of science excellence in which students take physics at about triple the statewide rate. 

We want our students to see high school physics teaching as a way of opening the doors of opportunity to students and joining the front lines in the effort to improve how our state prepares its students for their lives.