STEM literacy is defined as bridging Science, Technology, Engineering and Math to promote problem-solving through knowledge, innovation, and the ability to analyze, reason, and communicate ideas. S.T.E.M. classrooms fully integrate subject areas rather than teaching core subjects in isolation. Students learn how to think and apply their skills across the curriculum. They do this by engaging in project-based and problem-based learning, collaborating in an active learning environment, “Paying it Forward” within the community they live and learning to apply what they learn to real-life 21st century situations.
West Hills STEM Academy
Starting in the spring of the 2011 school year, West Hills Elementary was transformed into the West Hills STEM Academy with a heavy focus on STEM instruction. Over the last year, performance on the 5th grade Measurement of Student Performance (MSP) for the 2011/12 school increased to 70.4% from 38.0%.
By engaging in daily hands-on science activities, using FOSS (Full Options Science System) kits that are aligned with the Washington State Science Standards, and student participation in formative assessments, and teacher analysis of multi-tiered assessment information, and an active partnership with teachers connecting with engineers from the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, we have been able to dramatically improve student achievement in science.
Because of these ongoing efforts, West Hills STEM Academy received a $19,000 grant from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction to train interested school districts across the state on what Bremerton is doing.
Bremerton High School
Like West Hills STEM Academy, Bremerton High School has been experiencing growth in science. Last year, science teachers began transitioning to a project-based approach and biology teachers implemented more intentional interventions in order to prepare student for biology End of Course exams. The high school success is an example of the excellent collaboration and vertical teaming from elementary to middle school, and middle school to high school. Teachers participate in the new Secondary STEM Advisory which includes members from industry, college and the community.
All 9th grade students at Bremerton High School enroll in a STEM class where they will be introduced to Chemistry, Physics, Physical Science and Biology in order to project student interest to increase science and engineer pathways.