The need for lab specialists
Aside from the services we provide as described in our list of duties, the following is a list of reasons to keep laboratory specialists in our schools. I have compiled this for your information and reference should you become aware of possible excessing in your school or district.
- The New York State requirement for the laboratory component of Regents’ science classes is 1,200 minutes of hands-on activities (equivalent to 30 lab sessions of 40 minutes each).
- The State has mandated designated laboratory exercises in Regents Living Environment.
- The Regents exam for Earth Science includes a practical component which necessitates the set-up, maintenance and break-down of stations with very specific materials and conditions.
- The State requires an 8th grade Intermediate Level Science Examination that includes a performance component necessitating laboratory classes as preparation.
- Due to the emphasis on STEM education, there are more science classes and more science teachers who rely on the laboratory specialist for preparation and maintenance of demonstrations and laboratory materials.
- There are more new science teachers who require instruction and guidance regarding the availability and, most importantly, safe use of science equipment, materials and chemicals.
- To help ensure the safety of the staff, students and the school building, each laboratory specialists is responsible for maintaining a detailed chemical inventory and for arranging for disposal of old, dangerous, banned and waste chemicals.
- Laboratory specialists are trained in regulations related to the sciences established by OSHA, OOSH and the FDNY and receive annual training.
- Laboratory specialists organize the science preparation rooms and maintain an equipment inventory.
- Laboratory specialists arrange for purchasing of science equipment and materials.
- The presence of a laboratory specialist allows science teachers to concentrate on the preparation necessary to carry out their duties as pedagogues without taking time searching for, setting-up, breaking down and organizing science materials and equipment.