Science class digs into research to answer the question “Why?”


Hillsboro High School offers several unique programs to its students, one of which, is called ISR. ISR stands for Interdisciplinary Science and Research. This program is a four-year science program offered through the Academy of Global Health Sciences or AGHS. If one is interested in research, in-depth learning, and fun experiments/projects, then ISR is an excellent program to consider.

Dr. Joshua Swartz, the educator of the ISR program, explains the main theme of the program. “The other science classes focus on the what. ISR focuses on the why.”

Rights Reserved-Hillsboro Globe; Associated Press Margo Jenkins

The curriculum of this course is unlike any ordinary science class. ISR helps develop academic skills that are necessary to have in life. The topics discussed in the ISR program are much more detailed and applicable, compared to other classes. In courses like biology or chemistry, you focus primarily on those subjects, but in ISR, you cover a broad range of topics. Some of those include marine biology, meteorology, physiology, and so many more. The best part about the way one learns in ISR is related to the skills one learns and the ability to use these skills.

The other science classes focus on the what. ISR focuses on the why.

— ISR teacher, Josh Swartz

Being a part of ISR is beneficial to students considering a career in research or STEM. The class teaches self-discipline, informs curiosity,and encourages  risk taking critical thinking skills. ISR isn’t about knowing the material, but rather how to apply it and benefit from it.

It may sound like a really hard class, and it is,  but if you’re determined and intentional, then the class will be helpful and fun. The course offers science experiences for students. Class may include fieldtrips to places like Vanderbilt, Tennessee Aquarium, Mammoth Cave, and many others. On top of that, ISR is also a lab class, and students get to participate in dissections and experiments with microscopes and other science tools. Every day in class is different and exciting.

Enrollment in this program is open to anyone and everyone. If you’re interested in joining ISR, you can email Dr. Swartz at [email protected], or stop by his classroom, room 3046, during school hours.