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Arts added to STEM program at Whitcomb School

Maddy Stoddard (left) and Mila Longe

By Joan F. Simoneau, Community Reporter

Marlborough – For many years the Marlborough middle school STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) program provided an innovative pathway for more than 350 students in grades 6-8. Immersed in project-based learning and high-tech engineering content, the students have flourished and demonstrated success in the areas of creativity, collaboration, critical thinking and academic mastery.

Recognizing the success displayed by the 1Lt. Charles W. Whitcomb School’s students in STEM, a committee of staff and school teachers met throughout 2015-2016 and decided to welcome a new partner. STEM is now “STEAM” with the “A” standing for “arts.” The addition is intended to broaden students’ view of the world and their approaches to problem solving.

“This is a national model for middle-level STEAM education,” stated District STEM Director Dan Riley. “Students will have the chance to experience rigor and relevance through the content of every classroom.”

The program has received international recognition for its success.

“We have hosted schools from all over the country and several schools from China,” said Riley. “We have a 100-percent four-year graduation rate, 98 percent proficiency rating on all MCAS exams, and 97 percent of our students go on to college after completing 12 college credits in one of several STEM pathways. In addition, all of our students participate in either internships or work-based learning experiences at one of our many industry partner locations.”

STEAM is as much a way of thinking and learning as it is any specific content. Employers are telling schools that they need graduates who can think beyond simple answers to what might be possible. Educators feel that it is in middle school that habits of mind become habits for life.

The current schedule offers nearly one-hour periods, six per day, translating to an increase in instructional time of almost 14 hours for each of the core all-year courses. There is an increase for all students in grade 5 in the areas of engineering and computer science. The same is true for all grades in art classes and the average in engineering and computer science for grades 6-8 is also appreciably increased.

(l to r) John Carney, Emma Hennessey, and Alicia Bibi with engineering HS teacher Patrick McColl

Kimmie Huaman, Bianca Varela, and Sarah Naim

Short URL: http://www.communityadvocate.com/?p=91509

Posted by on Aug 9 2017. Filed under Byline Stories, Education, Marlborough. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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