headshot of WFHS chemistry teacher Martin Palermo

WFHS chemistry teacher Martin Palermo.

Martin Palermo, a chemistry teacher at William Floyd High School, recently co-authored an article featured in Physical Review Physics Education Research, a fully-open access journal that covers experimental and theoretical research relating to the teaching and learning of physics and astronomy. This is Mr. Palermo’s second published article in a peer-reviewed scientific journal over the past two years.

The article “Physics teacher isolation, contextual characteristics and student performance” is an observational study that examined teacher level- and school level-predictors of student performance in physics, with a focus on isolated teachers (sole physics teachers within a particular school or district).

Our research is seeking to address equity concerns regarding student access to advanced sciences, particularly in high-needs school districts,” said Mr. Palermo. “Our findings suggest ways to mediate the impact of socioeconomic status on student achievement through teacher retention, mentorship and professional learning communities.”

Dr. Luisa McHugh, science chairperson, William Floyd School District, congratulated Mr. Palermo on his latest publication and continued excellence, adding, “Although the article focuses on physics teachers and factors related to their teacher retention, I can see – in the findings – the merit of utilizing the authors’ conclusions to retain various content teachers,” she said. “Of specific note was professional support in terms of collegiality and mentoring, especially in a high-needs school district.” Dr. McHugh is also a published author and a New York State Master Teacher Emeritus.

Mr. Palermo, an award-winning educator who is well respected in his field, has just begun his 15th year as an educator at William Floyd High School – four as a living environment teacher and now into his 11th year teaching Regents/Honors chemistry. He is a New York State Master Teacher Emeritus, published author (Chemistry Solutions and now Physical Review Physics Education Research) and a peer-reviewer for the Journal of Chemical Education. Mr. Palermo is a past recipient of the Stony Brook University “40 Under Forty” award and was more recently tapped for his expertise to serve on Governor Cuomo’s “Reimagining Education” advisory council. He is currently in the process of writing another research article in the chemistry field, for which he is serving as its lead author. Mr. Palermo earned a Bachelor of Science in biology and chemistry and a Master’s in teaching science from Stony Brook University. He is currently working toward a PhD in science education from Stony Brook University in the field of teacher leadership and science teacher turnover. 

Co-authors of this peer-reviewed research article include Robert Krakehl of the Institute for STEM Education, Stony Brook University/Manhasset High School; Angela M. Kelly, Department of Physics & Astronomy/Institute for STEM Education, Stony Brook University; and Keith Sheppard, Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology/Institute for STEM Education, Stony Brook University. Mr. Palermo is also associated with the Institute for STEM Education, Stony Brook University.

The William Floyd School District provides a full complement of science education for students K-12. At the secondary level, students begin taking Regents courses in the eighth grade (Living Environment and Algebra) in an effort to enter high school with two Regents courses completed. Students must take a minimum of three years of science for graduation with many continuing on past that for Honors or Advanced Placement electives. William Floyd High School offers Physics, a course based on the physical setting/physics core curriculum of the New York State Learning Standards. In this course, students study matter at rest and in motion, heat energy, waves, electricity, sound, light and nuclear structure. William Floyd High School also offers Advanced Placement Physics I, a college-equivalent course in algebra-based physics covering Newtonian mechanics (including rotational dynamics and angular momentum), work, energy and power, and mechanical waves and sound, as well as electric circuits. Other science courses offered at the high school include introduction, honors and/or advanced placement courses in Science Research (Intro & Advanced I & II), Chemistry, Anatomy & Physiology, Astronomy, Forensics (I & II), Marine Science, Meteorology, Living Environment, Earth Science, Environmental Science, and Biology.

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