STEAM Vision Statement
St. Joseph Regional High School strives to motivate and challenge every student in a dynamic learning environment. Technology, when used as a tool, helps meet the diverse needs of learners enabling students of all learning styles to be exposed to a wide variety of materials and student-centered experiences. St Joe’s believes that project-based assignments requiring analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of data, encourages critical thinking skills during exploration and problem-solving. Collaboration often needed to complete these tasks fosters teamwork, cooperation, and communication skills needed in both the real and cyber-world.
During the 2016-17 academic year, SJR aligned the existing art program to the social studies curriculum creating a Global Arts course, modernized its technology class, increased the number of available 3D printers, expanded its science course electives to include Introduction to Engineering, and added more problem-based opportunities to science and math classes. The initial goals of the “Full STEAM Ahead at SJR” initiative were to engage students in active learning, expose them to more project-based learning, develop problem-solving skills, and to discover deeper meanings using the higher-level thinking skills of analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. While technology was the backbone of this initiative, art was the thread that tied the concepts/subjects together and allowed students to make meaningful connections.
During the 2017-18 school year, multiple sections of a Robotics elective were added to our curriculum. Two areas in the Media Center were repurposed into a dedicated MakerSpace and 3D Printing Room for after-school activities. The continued expansion of our art/technology course offerings provided the students with more opportunities to “learn by doing” through hands-on experiences in every subject area.
Moving forward into the 2018 school year and beyond, an overarching maker-mentality will encompass the entire school. Graphic coding, pre-engineering concepts, CAD, cybersafety, and security are some of the topics to be investigated during a semester STEAM program designed for freshmen and sophomores. An underlying goal of this program is student mastery of tech tools and Chromebooks which will assist teachers in differentiating activities by providing students more project-based opportunities. This STEAM program lays the groundwork for the maker-mentality mindset which all teachers and subjects will build upon. Success is contingent upon teacher collaboration and lessons using tech tasks and skills acquired during this course. The Science department will include more STEAM activities and math concepts will be blended into school-wide learning. Proper research skills, Internet savviness, and writing will be spearheaded by the ELA department but used throughout the SJR curriculum. The elimination of traditional style semester exams replaced by project-based learning will cultivate lifelong critical thinking skills. Through cross-curricular activities, students will be able to create and present choosing the tools that best fit their individual learning styles; presenting projects will not only aide in sharing knowledge but will help students develop presentation and public speaking skills. Technology literacy spread throughout the curriculum will serve SJR students well as they transition into adulthood, college, the workforce and beyond.