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Westbury’s Magnet Academy Is Attracting Success

Physics-based, hands-on approach paying dividends on test scores

Through an innovative partnership with the Cradle of Aviation Museum, located at 1 Davis Ave. in Garden City, the Westbury Union Free School district is running a successful magnet academy. 

The program, administered by Brumsic Brandon of the Westbury Union Free School District, utilizes the Cradle of Aviation museum as a resource to maximize student success in science, math, aeronautics and physics. Since its inception in the 2008-09 academic school year, the Westbury Cradle of Aviation Magnet Academy Program is all about teaching a rigorous accelerated science curriculum that includes a physics-first model for science, math, robotics and aeronautics. 

The physics-first program, a top-down approach to learning science, was developed where ninth-graders are taught physics as the basis for their freshman high school science course in addition to providing them with hands-on museum exhibits and experiments to increase their intellectual curiosity, while also collaborating with professionals who help create motivational strategies for teaching the challenging science and mathematics curricula.

While the program to some may be considered non-traditional in parallel with the mainstream methods of educating high school students, technological advancement of society advocates the need to inspire and increase learning. Apart from the location, ninth- and 10th-graders are being taught at the Cradle by their Westbury school district educators, Mrs. Patricia Trongone (physics), Ms. Anne Maffucci (geometry) and Mr. Brandon (aeronautics), greatly exposing them to process of real world experiential learning and interaction with scientists, mathematicians, historians, and cosmonauts. 

The magnet academy program has seen remarkable success in boosting student achievement since its inception. Of the 31 ninth-grade students taking the Physics Regents Examination, 87 percent passed the rigorous test. Furthermore, the graduating class of 2012 included a 100 percent passing rate for the students participating in the Cradle of Aviation program, of which, four of those students received full scholarships to Columbia University and the University of Michigan. 

Congratulations to the kids who are participating in the program. Learning is crucial and with such a rigorous program as this, hard work and perseverance is required.  The Westbury community extends its gratitude to Mr. Brumsic Brandon, administrator for the Cradle of Aviation Magnet Program, Mr. Robert Brisbane, superintendent of curriculum and instruction and to the director of education for the Cradle of Aviation, Jennifer Baxmeyer.