My first week of Virtual Orientation Meetings with various staff of the Peace Corps and Philippine Science High School (PSHS) took place on October 12, 13, and 14, and what a week it was! Five hours were packed with presentations that included the history of Covid-19 in the Philippines and how it had impacted the Philippine Science High Schools (PSHS), followed by a review of Peace Corps Goals and the PC Approach to Development. Other topics of interest included the PC Child Protection Policy and IT Safe and Best Practices. Our final night consisted of virtual meeting arrangements and a planning workshop with my Philippine Science High School team.
Philippine Science High School (PSHS)
The Philippine Science High School System was established in 1964 and now consists of 16 campuses located throughout the Philippines and headquartered in Quezon, Philippines. It is a specialized public high school system operating as an agency of the Philippine Department of Science and Technology, offering full scholarships to Filipino students gifted in the sciences and mathematics. Pisay, a movie released in 2007 in honor of Philippine Science High School and directed by alumnus Auraeus Solito, received national and international recognition by being featured at the Toronto International Film Festival. It was nominated for Best Documentary Feature Film in 2008 at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards.
Curriculum Review and Development Project (CRDP)
In June 2019, PSHS undertook a Curriculum Review and Development Project (CRDP) that entailed a comprehensive developmental process: 1). Identifying program standards; 2). Articulating program outcomes and general capabilities, that is, what learners will become at the end of the program; 3). Outlining the overarching framework for the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), humanities, and support programs; 4). Determining subject area requirements, and 5). Defining the modes of delivery, such as remote or blended learning as initiated during the Covid-19 pandemic, that best impact the teaching-learning process.
Meet the VSP/ PSHS Team!
The following week, Tuesday, October 18, I met with some key Philippine Science High School team members with whom I will be working virtually for the next 22 or so weeks!
Milosil (Milo) E. Cruz, Response Program Coordinator, Peace Corps Philippines will be calling me on a bi-weekly basis to make sure all is going well and that I am meeting the timelines for my “deliverables”!
Meet Ms. Lilia T. Habacon, Executive Director for all 16 Philippine Science High School campuses! OK, Doug, you better be on your toes!
I am pleased to introduce Jessamyn (Jess) Marie O. Yazon, Ph.D., Research, Policy, and Academics Division (RPAD), Philippine Science High School System. Jess keeps our conversations lively!
Melba Patacsil is a Chemistry teacher at Philippine Science High School. Not only does she entertain us with her beautiful singing voice, but she knows how to brew up some chemical potions to keep us in the right frame of mind!
Ma. (Maria) Hershey Regaya, Science Education Specialist IV, RPAD, PSHSS-OED, is another “live wire” who asked us to call her “Hershey.” No, unfortunately, she has no relation to the Hershey chocolate bar company!
Ms. Jodi Lopez has been in attendance since the first night and is one of the core members of the PSHS Curriculum Revision Team. Jodi is the “quiet one” taking everything in like Socrates!
Finally, there’s yours truly, Douglas J. Anderson, M.A., Ph.D., RPCV. After serving for nearly 3 years as a PC Volunteer in Cuenca, Ecuador (2017–2019), along with my wife Ana María, I’m back for a different kind of PC service!
I plan to blog regularly about my virtual service engagement with this Philippine Science High School Curriculum Review and Development Project and invite you to join me on this new journey! I encourage all RPCVs and those of you who may be interested in Peace Corps service to check out the following links.