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    Louisa Boren STEM K-8 Transition
    Posted on 11/21/2016
    Students working in a science lab

    Over the past three years, a K-8 Design Team has been advocating and planning for Louisa Boren STEM K – 8. The aim is to develop school vision and practices for Kindergarten though 8th grade. Our middle school is built on a powerful vision, K – 8 curriculum alignment, a strong school community, and STEM programs.

    We face numerous questions and challenges. That’s what the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are all about! Scientific and Engineering Practice #1: Asking questions and defining problems. Practice #6: Constructing explanations and designing solutions.

    The STEM K – 8 Design Team is continuing to develop program details. Disclosure: This is a learning adventure! Although aligned to standards, answers are subject to change!

    What does our middle school program look like?

    It’s not just a middle school! Louisa Boren STEM K – 8 is a Kindergarten through 8th Grade STEM program. The entire school community is working to ensure that adding grades 6-8 is an opportunity to further develop the STEM K – 8 vision for all grade levels. Important components include an emphasis on STEM curriculum, Project-based learning (PBL), and Positive Discipline.

    Program Information and Highlights:

    • Science: Middle School curricula in multiple subjects are aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). These standards, developed by educators, scientists and business leaders, were released in 2013 and represent the latest thinking regarding innovative science education. In addition to content goals (called Core Ideas), the NGSS outlines scientific practices and crosscutting concepts. Engineering practices are readily integrated with PBL and Science in a two hour STEM block.
    • Career and Technical Education (CTE): 7th and 8th graders have access to Introduction to Technology, a CTE program that engages students in real-world design and engineering problems. Students will investigate power generation and distribution systems, electro-mechanical systems, the use of water and air as a heat transfer medium (hydronics), industrial process controls (mechanical and digital), and basic model fabrication and construction techniques. Students will apply industrial mathematics to problems in physics, electricity, building design (e.g. R-Values as they relate to thermal transfer), and energy conservation.
    • Math:  STEM K – 8 utilizes Singapore Math, an accelerated math program that provides advanced math to all middle school students. Every 8th grader will have mastered algebra and be eligible for honors and AP courses in high school. Science, Engineering, and PBL will also provide opportunities for advanced math applications.
    • Technology:  STEM K – 8 middle school students are steeped in 21st Century Learning Skills. They use technology tools to support creative thinking, collaborative work, and innovative problem solving. Our middle school curriculum is built on technology integration. A 1:1 iPad program for middle school students transforms the way they interact with content, work, one another, and their teachers.
    • Project Based Learning (PBL): PBL is a dynamic teaching method in which students explore real world problems and challenges. PBL experiences are based on inquiry, rigorous standards, integrated curriculum, and produce public displays of collaborative work. Students must communicate their learning to others. With active and engaged learning, students are inspired to obtain a deeper knowledge of the subjects they study.
    • Electives, After school programs:  STEM K – 8 middle school students have access to Band, Performing Arts, Technology, PE, Visual Arts, Electronics, and other elective classes. Ultimate Frisbee, Basketball, Amelia’s Aerospace Club, Robotics, Drama, and other after school activities are offered as well.
    • Students currently at STEM have an enrollment preference for our middle school program. New middle school students fall under the assignment policies for option schools. K – 8 students throughout the West Seattle Region are eligible for transportation subject to existing guidelines.