STEAM is the acronym for an exciting new Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics program that we are pioneering at the High School for next school year. For several years now, STEM (without the “A” for art) initiatives have been on the increase in schools throughout the U.S., with the intent of preparing young people for the growing engineering and technology job market.
Typically, in most high schools, science and mathematics are taught as separate disciplines with little or no connection between them. In a typical STEM program, science and mathematics are integrated through technology – the products and systems that meet human needs, and engineering – the creative process used to design technology.
However, our STEAM Program will be uniquely different from STEM programs in other high schools, because it will not only integrate science and mathematics, it will also incorporate graphic and visual arts. STEAM students will be able to give visual expression to their creative ideas.
Related read: Why it’s STEAM, not STEM
Our STEAM Program will provide our most gifted math and science students with a program that has the same depth, rigor, and comprehensiveness as our Humanities Program. For some time now, parents and students have expressed a desire for a “Humanities-like” program for math and science.
To meet the needs of the more comprehensive STEAM Program, the HIgh School will also be adding new math and science courses to our present course offerings. For the 2015-2016 school year, Robotics & Microelectronics and Statistics will be added. Our Computer Science offerings will be enhanced as well. For the 2016-2017 school year, we will be offering Anatomy and Physiology and Honors Physics. Additionally, we will be expanding our online course electives for the next school year to include Forensic Science, Marine Science, Principles of Design, Earth & Space Science, and Medical Terminology. These courses will be available to all ECHS students, not just STEAM students.
For several years a lot of thought has been put into enhancing our science and math curriculum. STEAM, however, has been in the works since September of this school year. We have a team of math and science teachers who have been working hard designing and developing all of the components of this program. STEAM will be up and running for the 2015-2016 school year.
We live in a society that is increasingly placing emphasis on technology. Eastern Christian works to prepare its graduates to be servants of Jesus Christ. We want our graduates to be people of Christian vision and influence in society. Our STEAM Program will equip our graduates with the skills they need to contribute meaningfully and responsibly with Christian vision in a tech-savvy society.
Eastern Christian also works to nurture the spirits of our students. As individuals created in the image of God, our students have been hard-wired by God with certain attributes like curiosity, inquisitiveness, and a sense of wonder. Our STEAM Program will give students additional opportunities to satisfy these God-given attributes as they explore some aspect of God’s creation that is of particular interest to them.
To that end, besides their required course load, STEAM students will be enrolled in an Integrated STEAM course each year that they are in the program. These Integrated STEAM courses are the heart of the STEAM Program. In these courses, STEAM students will be paired with mentors. who will assist them in conducting research in areas that they are deeply interested in and passionate about. The four-year goal is for each STEAM student to complete a research project within his or her area of interest and passion. Partnering with mentors, students can investigate, experiment, and possibly design and create some new idea, product, or technology.
STEAM is a four-year program. Entrance into the program is for rising 9th-grade students only. These students must be able to enter the program at Honors Geometry and Honors Physical Science. The application includes a letter of recommendation from a middle school math or science teacher and the principal or dean. Applicants must also submit standardized test scores in math and in science along with a current report card.
Project Acceleration is a dual credit program we run in conjunction with Seton Hall University, where high school students can receive both high school and college credits for certain honors-level and advanced-level courses we offer at the HIgh School. We call these advanced and honors-level courses Project Acceleration courses. These Project Acceleration courses will be incorporated in the required sequences of courses that STEAM students will need to take in order to meet their graduation requirements and STEAM requirements. Students can participate in both programs, and we hope that some of our new courses will also become Project Acceleration credit-bearing courses.
The STEAM Program will be of particular benefit to students wishing to attend research universities or technical institutes. STEAM students will receive academic credit for their Integrated Steam courses, and these credits will be recorded on their transcripts. STEAM students can request letters of recommendation from their mentors, and the research project and its accompanying work portfolio can become part of their college application.