On July 20, Alex Roscher and her family packed up their Prius and the moving van and began a five-day trek from Pennsylvania to Oregon.
Both Alex and her husband, Gerald, are native Pennsylvanians who, after visiting a brother in Medford last year, set their sights on Southern Oregon and have both since landed teaching jobs in the area — Alex at South Medford High School and Gerald at Ashland High School.
“We’ve always wanted to move west, and Oregon has been our dream destination,” said Alex Roscher.
In addition to the small community, the culture and the surrounding state parks, Roscher said she found SMHS’ facilities and technology particularly attractive. She has a bachelor’s degree in economics from Emory University in Atlanta and a master’s degree in education from East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania.
“I’m a big STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) geek,” she said.
“The CTE (Career and Technical Education) program is a lot stronger in Oregon, and Oregon does a lot better job of providing funding for schools to keep pace with technology,” she said.
Roscher, who has taught math and engineering for the last decade, will teach business and Project Lead the Way, a project-based engineering and technical program, at SMHS.
“Both (subjects) are about empowering kids to do things differently and innovate, which is a lot more exciting to me than a traditional curriculum program because the kids have a choice,” she said.
Roscher said she is an advocate of student choice in education as it gives students ownership of their work and “they get a lot more out of it.”
“At Freedom High School (in Pennsylvania), I gave the kids the opportunity to enter a competition, so we did the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow and used MRI data and 3-D printing to make replicas of the human brain … to create a visual representation of drug abuse,” she said. “They were able to expand on the curriculum and learned even more because they were part of a competition.”
Roscher begins Aug. 8 teaching Panther Camp, a summer school opportunity for incoming freshmen.
“I’m most excited for the opportunity to work for Medford School District,” Roscher said. “(My husband and I) wanted to move to the west, but we wouldn’t have moved without the right jobs.”