Summer SRP Funding

Help the Magnet Restore its Funding for Summer Supervision of Senior Research

A key feature of Blair's senior research project over the years has been the oversight of a teacher/coordinator over the summer. The visits with mentors and students helps to keep the projects on track, and it ensures that the students are conducting real scientific research in an educational environment rather than simply working a summer job. The results of this program speak for themselves, as senior research at Blair has been phenomenally successful, with 42 Westinghouse/Intel Finalists and over 200 semifinalists since the first Magnet seniors graduated in 1989. Blair first made national headlines in 1993, when the New York Times reported on the Magnet's three Top-10 Westinghouse Finalists. In 1999, Blair's six Intel Finalists were interviewed on NBC Nightly News. This success has continued through the 21st century, with three Intel Finalists from Blair last year, recognized as the most in the nation by the Washington Post.

Over the years, the Magnet's budget has faced more and more challenges, and the money that had previously been set aside to pay the research teacher over the summer was cut a few years ago. The Magnet has been able to apply for special exemptions from MCPS in recent years, but only $2,500 has been available for the summer, which pays the research teacher $25/hour for 100 hours of work. This year, the exemption was initially denied, leaving no money to pay the research teacher over the summer. The Magnet and the MCPS office of Accelerated and Enriched Instruction (AEI) is appealing the budget decision, and they need public support to help advocate for the funds.

The Foundation is prepared to raise money to continue supporting summer senior research, but unlike extracurricular activities and specialized equipment that supplements the education of Magnet students, we believe that senior research is a core part of the Magnet curriculum and that it is MCPS's responsibility to pay its teachers for their work. To encourage MCPS to provide these funds, we need your help to express how important the summer of senior research was to your Magnet education.

We are collecting testimonies from former students, mentors, teachers, and parents to share with MCPS officials and, if necessary, the Board of Education. Please tell us how senior research teachers like Ms. Russell, Dr. Torrence, Ms. Ragan, Ms. Duval, and Ms. Bosse supported your SRP by visiting and keeping in contact with you over the summer, and please reach out to your mentors and classmates to also contribute their testimonies: