New Honors Forensics course to add law-enforcement perspective on biology and chemistry

Adi Saligrama and Grace Kirk, Co-Editor-In-Chief and Staff Writer

The 2020-21 school year will bring a set of new courses, especially to the science department. Based on CSI Weston, a popular June Academy course that ran in 2017 and 2018, a new Honors Forensics course will be offered next year.

“Forensics has been offered as a June Academy course at least once in the past and Dr. Serkin will be offering it again next year. When she taught it, it was very popular and we decided to try and work it up into a science elective,” science department head Stephen Ribisi said.

The course will cover the intersection of biology and chemistry from a law enforcement perspective.

“We’re going to cover, for example, fingerprinting, ballistics, entomology, anthropology, skeletal remains, tire and foot impressions, fiber analysis, hair analysis, blood typing, and blood splatters,” science teacher Carla Serkin, who plans to teach the course, said. “I love teaching hands-on activities, and stuff that kids are normally not going to see in a high school setting. I’m excited to do the lab part and show them the techniques.”

Unlike the current set of science electives, Forensics will be offered as an honors course.

“Students are sometimes reluctant to take a challenging course if they don’t get the honors moniker,” Ribisi said. “We decided that we wanted Forensics to be a fast-paced course for people who are passionate, and so that’s why we put the honors designation on it.”

The original curriculum from the CSI Weston June Academy course will be furthered into this full elective opportunity.

“Forensics is a course that’s taught at other schools, including the school I came from, Concord. I actually helped develop the course there,” Serkin said. “When June Academy started at Weston, that gave me the opportunity to offer forensics in a smaller format, and due to its success, we are now developing it as an actual science elective.”

Junior Zander Ingare, who took CSI Weston in 2018, described his experience with that June Academy course.

“A lot of times when we were in class [during June Academy], we would do labs like we did in science class, except it was focused on forensics. [The activities included] taking your own fingerprint…or [splattering] blood droplets to see how they would fall. I enjoyed it because it was an interesting course,” Ingare said.

Serkin also added that she is open to feedback on the course from students who take it.

“I hope people who take it next year understand it’s the first year it’s ever run. I’m hoping that I get a lot of really good suggestions from the students with regards to how to develop the course.”