Last evening we held the first STEM Academy open house to a large number of parents and guests. The teachers explained their expectations and plans for our students in 10 minute segments. Those who attended commented on the professionalism of the staff as well as the diversity of course offerings and activities currently underway. The combination of technology and project based learning was a theme throughout the evening.
And we are just getting started. Teachers have been meeting in teams to develop interdisciplinary units that address authentic problems. It is clear that our focus on teaching and learning is already making a positive difference in the lives of all our students. Every day I have the opportunity to speak with dozens of students in the 7th and 8th grade and my hope that each would find something in STEM that interests them and grabs their attention. We sometimes call this a "hook" in education and I am pleased to see that our students have not only become comfortable with their new setting and schedule, but are immersing themselves in the courses they are taking.
Keep checking with this column as our programs begin to take shape and special activities and projects will be highlighted.
The first open house for the STEM Academy is Thursday, September 18 from 6-8 PM. The schedule is posted on the home page. Parents will have the opportunity to visit all 8 classes for blue and white days. The teachers will use the time to briefly review their program as well as share contact information. I anticipate that we will have a strong turnout which, based on an earlier experience this month, suggests a lot of traffic. Parking is going to be difficult at best so I recommend that everyone carpool as much as possible.
I have been asked why we do not have two different nights and the answer is that we are limited by the teacher contract. High school teachers provide an essential part of the STEM Academy by teaching electives, health and physical education. However, they are available one night during the semester. These classes are very popular with our middle school students and so I think it's important that parents get to hear about the excellent curriculum being taught.
Parents will report to their child's advisory at the beginning of open house. Please bring your child's schedule with you. The advisory room number is printed on the schedule.
On another note - If you are dropping your child off in the morning please drive all the way around the circle and please do not let any students out of your car until you reach the circle. I have noticed that some students are getting out of their vehicles and crossing into traffic. Middle school students who are late will always be given passes to their advisory or class when they arrive. We are moving a lot of students around in the morning and these small efforts will enhance their safety.
Chrome book tutorials have begun and I was informed this morning that the charger stations are on their way and should be here no later than next week. Students will be ready to use their chrome books when all the equipment is here.
Finally I have had the pleasure of visiting all of our classes in the STEM Academy and I am very pleased with the level of engagement by our students. All the credit goes to this outstanding staff who continue their high level of creativity and student support. I think everyone should be very pleased with our rigorous and challenging curriculum.