STEAM is the acronym for an exciting Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics program that Eastern Christian School offers. 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 is 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 are able to give visual expression to their creative ideas.
Related read: Why it’s STEAM, not STEM
Our STEAM Program provides our most gifted math and science students with a program that has the same depth, rigor, and comprehensiveness as our Humanities Program. We have added a number of math and science classes such as Robotics, Anatomy and Physiology, Honors Physics, and Honors Chemistry 2. These courses are available to all ECHS students, not just STEAM students.
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 equips 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 gives 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 are enrolled in a 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 are paired with mentors. who assist them in conducting research in areas that they are deeply interested in and passionate about. The goal is for each STEAM student to complete a research project within his or her area of interest and passion. Partnering with mentors, students investigate, experiment, and possibly design and create some new idea, product, or technology.
STEAM is a three-year program. Entrance into the program is for rising 9th-grade students. 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 are incorporated in the required sequences of courses that STEAM students need to take in order to meet their graduation requirements and STEAM requirements. Students can participate in both programs.
The STEAM Program is a particular benefit to students wishing to attend research universities or technical institutes. STEAM students receive academic credit for their Integrated Steam courses, and these credits are 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.