Every Wednesday, when the final bell rings at Riverwood Middle School, students filter through the halls to get to Mrs. Romero’s classroom. Their reason is now inspiring other students to do the same.
“The kids are so excited to come to class and be here. We have many students asking if we have spots available because they want to be part of the program,” said Stephanie Romero, a science teacher who created a fun teaching plan to tutor students.
To start the program Romero applied for a grant that was approved by the Humble ISD Education Foundation. With the funds that were given, Mrs. Romero created the program “PASS: Pizza and After School Science.”
“This program is designed for students that can’t be part of other extracurricular groups. We eat pizza with the kids and study science. Students come in to get tutored on science and to learn and study new topics” said Romero.
Pizza and After School Science was so successful that it expanded to the mornings and is called Morning Mad Scientists. Now, a total of 40 students like Dylan Jones, take advantage of the free food, science classes and tutoring. “This program makes it easy to understand things. If I don’t understand something in class, I know the teacher will explain it before school or after school,” said Jones.
The technique used in the classroom is the key to the program’s success according to Mrs. Romero. “Once the students feel like they are at home, and that they are safe and that they are fed and cared about, the science comes naturally.” The students agree with this, adding that everyone treats each other like family “We are all friends here and we get to teach each other. That keeps us interested because we are talking and interacting with each other,” said Emily Challburge, who serves as a mentor in the classroom. Now four other students like Challburge are helping their classmates by mentoring them.
The goal now for Mrs. Romero is to include math classes in the program and expand it to other schools. “There are students everywhere that could benefit from the program. I can’t thank the Foundation enough for giving us the opportunity and the funds to have this program.” said Romero.