Veteran teachers can often teach with minimal preparation. Not so Kevin Paiz-Ramirez — and he’s proud of it.

Each day, Paiz-Ramirez (M.A. ’13), a science teacher at California’s Coronado Middle School, updates students on six new scientific innovations or discoveries — a practice he began after a student said she appreciated the energy in his class but wanted more challenges.

Kevin Paiz-Ramirez

Kevin Paiz-Ramirez (Photo Courtesy of Kevin Paiz-Ramirez) 

Paiz-Ramirez immediately thought of his TC mentor, hip-hop science educator Christopher Emdin, who advocates knowing what kids face each day, whether it’s dodging gangs en route to school or dealing with gender discrimination. “He said that when kids know you care about them individually, they’re more curious about science.”

Read more about TC alumni, faculty and students addressing mounting challenges at a critical moment for the future of education.

Paiz-Ramirez now spends evenings mining news sites and science journals for content that touches kids’ lives. “I might talk about NASA now having exactly 50 percent male and 50 percent female astronauts. A student who has experienced inequity will connect with that.” Paiz-Ramirez’s students have improved academically, and parents report that their kids actually tell them what they’re learning. “That’s when we know kids understand science is an active process. They’re staking their claim, right here, right now.”

Kevin Ramirez posts #Science learning tools for students and teachers on Instagram @Kpramscience.