Saving the World Through Science, From Garden to Table, Theatrical Special FX, Robotics Into Orbit – these are just a few of the new courses that will be offered as part of the Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math and Medicine (STEAM2) pilot at East Middle School next year. The goal is to expose students to 21st Century skills that lead to a high school pathway to better prepare students for college and career. “The earlier that students can identify their interests the better. It makes for more engaged learners and it will help students identify the types of courses that they want to take during high school,” East Middle School Principal Scott Phares said.
Over the 2017-18 school year, the STEAM2 Task Force, made up of school personnel, area business representatives and our higher education partners, have been working to create the STEAM2 blueprint at each level – elementary, middle and high school. (Dr. Simon quote about the work of the task force) To date, the group has identified the elementary concept, which consists of three consistent learning principles: 1) A STEAM2 lab/makerspace, 2) coding for all students, and 3) STEAM2 integration in curricular areas. The group has also mapped out the middle school concept, which includes the same three principals as elementary, and has identified the high school pathways: Computer Science, Health Sciences and Science and Engineering.
Next year, two of our elementary schools will pilot the STEAM2 school concept. Canyon Lake Elementary has already begun implementing the STEAM2 concept with Student Interest Groups (SIGS) this year. Next year, Canyon Lake will continue its pilot in phase 2 by continuing to move to a customized learning model with STEAM2 SIGS. Corral Drive is the other elementary school slated to start the pilot next year with an integrated model approach. East Middle School will start their pilot by introducing blended learning into their math instruction. Blended learning allows teachers to integrate the use of technology with traditional classroom teaching methods. Then, at the end of the day, all East Middle School students will participate in one of the newly developed STEAM2 classes. Southwest Middle School is also exploring a STEAM2 pilot for next school year. In addition to some creative scheduling options, they will be devoting the upstairs of their library to become an innovative and interactive makerspace for students to explore. “At Southwest we are very excited to be a pilot school for STEAM2. Our students have an amazing amount of potential and we want to encourage them to further explore their interests and really guide and take more ownership of their learning and educational pathways,” Southwest Principal Lindsey Ruml said.
Implementing STEAM2 across the district will not happen overnight, but over the course of the next five years. The goal is to reach full implementation district-wide at all school levels by 2022.