Mr. Bosko, a science teacher at Wahluke Junior High, has been working in the district for about ten years. Mr. Bosko has degrees in Biology and Computer Science and is certified in GIS and teaching. He also has over 25 years of combined experience in software engineering and biology, specifically in stream ecology & fisheries. Having a passion for science and teaching, he continues prior work as an independent researcher in partnership with various biology, ecology, and fisheries agencies.
Mr. Bosko wanted to give students an opportunity that he never had, to gain authentic experiences in science by inviting them to assist in his research outdoors to practice real science alongside real scientists.
Combining his passion for science and working with students, he and fellow teacher, Megan Gray, developed a Science Explorer Club at Wahluke Junior High in 2017. This program allowed students to gain exposure to additional education and career opportunities and help students utilize classroom science to seek solutions to real-world focusing on streams and forest ecology problems.
The Science Explorer Club quickly became an internship program that allowed students to participate in multi-day camping trips to the Teanaway River Basin. In these trips, Mr. Bosko, Mrs. Gray and their students collected data and learned from science professionals while restoring stream habitat, and studying the longitudinal effects of this restoration work over time.
Cristopher Galvan, Fernando Pazaran, Daisy Barajas, Richie Torres, Michelle Miranda, Osvaldo "Toto" Alvarez, and Aylar Elias took part in this internship while in junior high and have since transitioned to High School. This program was successful as it allowed these students to apply their classroom learning in various subjects like math, reading, writing, and science in an authentic professional setting. Working alongside Mr. Bosko, these students had the opportunity to explore stream and forest ecosystems, assist in setting science field equipment, collect data, and build a camaraderie of friendships.
Since 2017 they have designed and executed a longitudinal study to understand the effects of stream wood on the stream ecosystem. The students collected data before the wood was added to Indian Creek by the Yakama Nation Fisheries. They then collected the same data the years following the addition of wood.
2018 Poster - presented in person at the CWU SOURCE Conference
2019 Poster and video presentation for CWU SOURCE Virtual Conference
Students published and presented their research at the 2019 and the 2020 CWU's Symposium Of University Research and Creative Expression (CWU SOURCE) conferences. They worked very hard to collect data, arrange the trips/camps, analyze the data, and present their results. There is no doubt that Mr. Bosko was a huge help and guided our students on their preparation for the CWU SOURCE conference.
Mr. Bosko's belief in his students' ability to embrace science is the core of his success in building a project-based experience that has already sent students into their future with an understanding of a natural ecosystem. As Mr. Bosko is always aware, seeding a community with students who appreciate and understand the natural world is critical to local ecosystems' health and the planet's future.
This May, Mr. Bosko was nominated for the Patsy Collins Award for Excellence in Education. The Patsy Collins Award for Excellence in Education, Environment, and Community honors extraordinary teachers in Washington K-12 schools creating equitable, project-based learning experiences that inspire stewardship and environmental awareness. Recipients were chosen by IslandWood educators and staff, Seattle Foundation Staff, and a past award recipient.
Mr. Bosko is one of six teachers in Washington State to receive the Patsy Collins Award, which includes a $5,000 cash prize. He will be donating some of his award money to various organizations such as the Mid-Columbia Fisheries Enhancement Group who helped develop the summer science internship at Wahluke Junior High. Mr. Bosko will be leaving Wahluke School District at the end of the 2020-2021 school year and will be working at the Mid-Columbia Fisheries Enhancement Group. He plans to work with the Wahluke High School to connect with high school students and college students to create internships specifically focusing on ecology and restoration.
WSD would like to thank Mr. Bosko for all the work and dedication he has done in our district, and for the impact he has had on our students. Mr. Bosko shares with us this, "I encourage teachers to find ways to give their students opportunities to explore career paths and try new things. Just share your passions with them, and you will be absolutely amazed at what they will do with it."