This small middle school Academy features an instructional approach designed to meet students where they are and lead them through an engaging sequence of high level, challenging academic courses. EL structures, such as Crew (in which teachers and small groups of students meet together in “advisories”) enable teachers to learn about students’ individual strengths and areas of challenge while students get to know their teachers and each other on a more personal level. Students participate in important EL protocols, such as Student-led Family Conferences that enable them to reflect on and showcase their learning in concrete ways.
Meaningful STEM-oriented project work will be woven throughout the curriculum using the EL approach. STEM-oriented “mini courses” are offered to all students that enable students to explore specific STEM areas, such as robotics, space flight, and bridge construction in more depth. Further, the Paxton-Patterson Engineering Lab provides students with hands-on learning through carefully sequenced engineering modules.
The Paxton-Patterson Engineering Lab provides students with hands-on learning through carefully sequenced engineering modules. Every student at STEM Middle Academy goes through the entire 14-module engineering lab, learning about things such as robotics, architecture, solar and wind power among other topics.
To help make these advanced offerings connect to the real world, STEMM engages professionals in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math to serve as mentors and instructors. These professionals each have expertise in particular STEM fields. For the past 4 years, airmen and women from Westover Air Force Base have worked with the Patriot Propulsion Program (rocket club) at STEMM that culminates with a visit to the Air Base, a tour of the aircraft housed there and a student-made rocket launching event.
The SeaPerch Program, sponsored by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) is another popular after school activity designed to be fun while also building teamwork and inspiring students to consider entering professions in the STEM fields.