New FAPA Teacher Implements New Science Standards

Crystal Johnston is a new biology and chemistry teacher at Flabob Academy. She comes to Springs after working for UC Riverside in Entomology for 11 years.

“My job focus was rearing colonies of many different species of insects,” she said.  Insects included Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches, Discoid roaches (which are in her classroom now), millipedes, centipedes, scorpions, black widows, Vietnamese walking sticks, Australian walking sticks, large and small mealworms, darkling beetles, as well as many other types of beetles, and woodlouse.

She also reared colonies of Bagrada hilaris, Smoke-Tree and Glassy-Winged sharpshooters, and polyphagous shot-hole borers for experiments in greenhouses and in the field.  She continued, “My passion has always been with biology, especially insects and spiders, and moving into teaching science was a very logical move.”

She wanted to work at FAPA because of its “hands-on aspect of teaching and learning.  I like how the focus is on preparing the students for career and college and having the technical and airplane background was also very refreshing to me from a traditional school.”

Her first months at FAPA have been challenging, but she is pleased with “the atmosphere here at FAPA and the level of care and concern that has been afforded to me as a teacher.  I love the vision of Springs and I think that I have found my niche in my career.”

Ms. Johnston is implementing the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), the new Common Core state standards for science, beginning at the middle school level.  It has been a challenge for both her and the students, but “a great challenge.”  She continued, “There is a great deal of engineering in NGSS and we have jumped in feet first.  The students are struggling (which they’re supposed to) and they are loving it and most importantly learning.  The amount of hands-on learning is incredible and I have a great benefit to this being in science.  We build, draw, color, create and engineer.”

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