WHAT IS STEM?
STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, fields that are the underpinnings of modern life. The STEM Program at Cleveland High School will give students the opportunity for rigorous and advanced study in these subjects.
WHY STUDY STEM?
College and career opportunities– in fields such as biotechnology, software design, aeronautical engineering, and others – will require adaptability, creativity, critical thinking, and technical competence in science, technology, engineering and math. Employment in these areas is projected to grow 70 percent faster than growth for other occupations. STEM graduates on average are expected to enjoy better employment prospects and higher starting salaries than graduates in non-STEM fields.
HOW WILL THE STEM PROGRAM AT CLEVELAND HIGH SCHOOL WORK?
Starting in September 2010, Cleveland High School will be an “option” high school, meaning that any Seattle student can attend. There will be no entrance requirements, though students will need to commit to take four years of math and science and agree to an extended day if they need additional support.
STEM at Cleveland will have two separate academies students can choose.
- School of Life Sciences (SOLS) will focus on the life sciences, including biology and biochemistry, as well as global health issues.
- School of Engineering & Design (SOED) will focus on the physical sciences and technology. It will feature a computer game design program and a pre-engineering program that will expose students to leading edge technologies in robotics, aeronautics, rocket design, and alternative energy.
Each of these STEM academies will enroll up to 125 students per grade level, for a total of 250 students at Cleveland High School per grade level. STEM will begin with 9th and 10th grades in September 2010.
HOW AND WHEN CAN MY STUDENT ENROLL IN STEM?
STEM at Cleveland is an option school. That means any student can enroll. There are no admission requirements! STEM is starting in September 2010 with students in 9th and 10th grade; the school will add one grade each year to become a four-year high school program.
Enrollment for STEM will happen each spring during the Open Enrollment period.
WHAT TRANSPORTATION WILL BE OFFERED FOR STUDENTS OUTSIDE OF THE CLEVELAND NEIGHBORHOOD?
Because STEM will be an Option School open to students throughout the district, the district is working to provide every neighborhood with easy and convenient access to the school. The district will offer a combination of public transit and School District shuttle service.
WHAT WILL BE DIFFERENT ABOUT STEM?
The STEM Program will give students a number of opportunities to help them succeed. These opportunities will include:
- Personalized education. STEM will limit enrollment to 250 students per grade level, facilitating a personalized education for each student.
- Math and science every year. STEM students will take four years of math and four years of science. Cleveland will offer a strong academic program, including AP science, mathematics, and technology courses.
- Courses in core subjects and the arts. In addition to science and technology, STEM will feature courses in language arts, social studies, world languages, and the arts. Cleveland graduates will meet state and district graduation requirements.
- Courses for every student. The STEM program will be structured so that every student can succeed if they work hard. STEM at Cleveland will offer support for students who need additional assistance, as well as acceleration for students who are ready to tackle more rigorous coursework.
- Project-based learning opportunities. All courses will be taught in a project-based, high technology learning environment in which students apply their knowledge and skills in personally significant ways. Partnerships with business and industry, higher education, and community-based organizations will provide engaging and relevant learning opportunities.
- Extracurricular activities and sports. Extracurricular Activities and Clubs will include: Key Club, Cross Country, Ultimate Frisbee, Tennis (Co-Ed), Basketball, Volleyball, Football, Baseball, Softball, Track, Wrestling, Art Club, Dance Team, Filipino Club.
- Extended class time/credit opportunities. By using an A/B blocked schedule, students will have the opportunity to earn at least eight credits each year. Classes will be 85 minutes long and will integrate different subjects (for example, biology may be paired with language arts).
WHAT IS PROJECT-BASED LEARNING?
Project-based learning is not a curriculum. It is an instructional strategy to help students learn core content while also building 21st century skills that will help them be successful in college, the workplace and life. These skills include problem solving and critical thinking skills; communication and collaboration; and creativity and innovation.
- Is organized around an open-ended driving question or challenge;
- Creates a “need to know” around core content that provides relevancy to what students are learning;
- Requires inquiry to help students learn and/or create something new;
- Often results in a publicly presented product, presentation or performance; and
- Allows some degree of student voice and choice, helping students learn to work independently and take responsibility for their work.
Students will use a set of collaboration management tools to help organize their project work. Transparent rubrics (or scoring guides) will make clear how they will be graded on each project. Safeguards will also be built in throughout the project to make sure every student does their fair share of the work.
At Cleveland, project-based learning will be supported by the New Tech Network (NTN), which will provide a web-based set of collaboration tools tailored to project-based learning, extensive teacher training, and library of learning resources and vetted projects.
WILL STEM STUDENTS HAVE ACCESS TO OTHER OPPORTUNITIES, SUCH AS RUNNING START?
Yes! STEM students will be able to participate in Running Start classes at local community colleges, just like students in any other Seattle high school. STEM students will need to meet the same eligibility requirements for Running Start
as any other Seattle Public Schools’ student. Cleveland High School also piloted a college-level math course on its campus this year and is looking to offer additional college-level courses in the future.
WILL STEM PARTNER WITH ANY LOCAL ORGANIZATIONS?
Cleveland will take full advantage of the great variety of science and technology organizations in the Pacific Northwest. Partners will help with project-based learning opportunities and internships, and will enrich and enhance program offerings.
HOW WILL STEM HELP STUDENTS SUCCEED?
There are several ways to help students meet the challenge of succeeding in rigorous, college prep courses. These include:
- Extended-day instruction
- Summertime courses to help accelerate students’ learning; and
- Engaging project-based learning that is rigorous and personally relevant to students.