By Jaclyn Sersland (U19)
Next year, Ojai Valley School students will be shooting for the stars.
Astronomy is becoming the newest high school course offering at Ojai Valley School. Starting in September, 2019, students will have the opportunity to launch into learning about stars, planets, and galaxies.
Astronomy has been on the fence of becoming a new science course for the past couple years. It’s been a widely popular subject amongst students, especially for those who participate in the biannual Mt. Pinos trip, but the course has never taken off.
Upper Campus Head of School Craig Floyd knew OVS needed an astronomy class when he went to Austin, Texas, to participate in a meeting that happened to include astronomy classes and an observatory. After seeing the cool things – like viewing Mars through a telescope – that were going on, Mr. Floyd decided that an astronomy course would diversify the school’s science program.
“I got to see what cool things the students in that class were doing,” Mr. Floyd said. “That inspired me to come back and push through this idea of having astronomy as a class and make it happen.”
Wondering who would teach the course next year, Mr. Floyd immediately thought Micah Sittig — current teacher of conceptual chemistry and physics — would be the perfect fit.
When Mr. Sittig was approached and asked if he’d be interested in teaching the new class, he thought it was a great idea and was immediately on board.
“I’ve always wanted to teach astronomy,” Mr. Sitting said. “Then Mr. Floyd approached me and said that a few students have come to him with idea and that’s when I agreed. I’m excited because it’s something I’ve thought about teaching all the time.”
Mr. Sittig already has some ideas for how the class will be laid out. He will teach about the history of astronomy and its major figures, the different types of telescopes, and study the universe.
“We added this course to expand our science offerings,” Mr. Floyd said. “We have the basics of Biology, Chemistry and Physics, and we added Marine Science this year, so we were looking to do this to give another offer for our students, and it seems that a fair number of students have that interest.”