Through a comprehensive visioning process in the 2011‐12 school year, the District identified the creation of STEM focus schools as one of the educational options it wanted to provide for students. Four elementary schools have been operating as STEM focus schools since the 2012‐13 school year: Farmington View, Groner K-8, Quatama and Tobias. In the 2017-18 school year, Imlay and McKinney were added as well, for a total of six STEM focus schools.
Integration of Curriculum
Previously, the four parts of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) had been taught separately. The STEM philosophy, however, suggests that science, engineering and mathematics all play an integral part in the teaching of the whole. The STEM fields are made complete by the technology component, which provides a creative and innovative way to problem‐solve and apply what has been learned. Two of our STEM focus schools, Quatama and Groner, have taken that philosophy a step further and added an “A” for art to create a STEAM model.
Benefits of the Program
The STEM focus program attempts to transform the typical teacher‐centered classroom by emphasizing problem‐solving, discovery, exploratory learning, and active student engagement. All students benefit from the STEM focus ogram because it teaches teamwork and independent innovation and allows students to explore subjects at greater depths by utilizing the skills learned; these skills will be required for today’s students to become tomorrow’s leaders.
Whether it is stimulating students’ imaginations through engineering design, sparking their curiosity with science, or engaging them via the exploration of natural resources, the goal of the curriculum at STEM focus schools is to inspire and motivate students through active learning.
Professional development for teachers, teacher collaboration, leadership training, and co‐planning across grades are inherent to the design of STEM focus schools. Partnerships with local companies, professional organizations and practitioners expand the opportunities for staff to create enriching experiences for students.