As part of our commitment to innovation, we have created an inclusive STEAM program where all students can participate, regardless of their learning differences. We have accomplished this by extensively training our staff about how to utilize STEAM processes in all facets of the students’ learning. We have also created targeted cross-curricular planning segments for all of our content and electives teachers so that purposeful STEAM elements will be evident in all courses, not just Science and Mathematics.
Best Practices Pivotal for Success
Major Elements Include:
Universal Design Process
Tapestry has monthly vertical planning meetings with the entire middle school to plan cross-curricular activities that support school-wide STEAM integration. By discussing what topics each teacher is planning to cover for the month, they can find areas of overlap where activities can be planned that involve multiple subjects and provide students with exciting, memorable project-based activities that also achieve core curricular objectives. Below is a sample of our monthly STEAM Integration Planning Sheet.
Universal Design Process
We have developed a standardized problem solving method for use across all classes and grade levels. We have done this by combining elements from the Design Thinking Method and Scientific Method and tailoring it to the unique needs of our students. Through frequently referring students to the process, we have helped grow our students’ independence through the internalization of strategic ways to solve any problem that they may come across, regardless of the subject or grade level. This process is detailed below, and we feature it in the front page of each student’s STEAM notebook.
Students use the universal design process to carry out activities in all academic classes. They may use these journals to investigate activities in one class or use it as a cross-curricular journal. When students are participating in big projects they are encouraged to use the universal design process and the STEAM notebooks to dive deeper with with what they are learning.
Community partnerships are a vital part of any STEAM program. At Tapestry, we partner with a variety of companies to connect our students’ academic learning to real-world applications. In doing so, we hope to foster long-lasting relationships with community members who our students can learn from about career opportunities while developing the skills that will enable them to compete in a global marketplace.
Parent involvement is key for any STEAM program to have success. By drawing on the skills and networks of our parents, we are able to enhance our STEAM program by adding unique experiences and programs that we would not have had access to otherwise. Our current STEAM Parent Panel meets once a month to discuss new ideas and potential partnerships to enrich both the STEAM program and the school as a whole.