What is STEM?

The STEM program is an extenuation of an already excellent educational experience offered at Helfrich Park. The Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) focus at Helfrich Park is much like the exceptional curriculum currently in place but with much more specific parameters and labels.

Science classes under the STEM initiative will focus on the general science curriculum offered in all schools throughout the EVSC. There will be standards based instruction and adherence to the pacing guides already in play in the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation middle schools. In addition to the already excellent curriculum offered at Helfrich Park, students will also be given the opportunity for expanded hands-on labs and manipulation of various science kits. Interests will peak as the relevance to the world is highlighted with hands on applications and practice. Book study will still remain a key component in this well rounded science education.

Technology classes, as already offered at Helfrich Park, are available to all students in correlation with the encroaching scientific world. Students, many of which are already computer literate as a result of technologically changing times, will be able to apply their learning in areas of keyboarding and Microsoft Office and other highly used computer applications through various units of study within the school day. Up until now, the keyboarding portion of a student’s schooling was, for the most part, a part of the high school curriculum. Through the STEM program students will be able to get a head start in making the most of computer software many already use.

Engineering classes offered on the basis of the Project Lead the Way curriculum also are available for all students. Some of the exceptional areas of study that were offered as afterschool clubs will be available during the school day. Units like design and modeling, robotics and automation, and digital electronics are a few of the opportunities that students will have as a part of their academic day. This is a truly exceptional opportunity that can stimulate those children with minds that think kinesthetically. The hands on addition to the Helfrich Park experience will be compounded by the STEM resources and class design.

Math is another important field in the growing technological world. Many students, with the use of computers, are naturally drawn to fields of mathematics. The STEM program offers accelerated courses to those students who feel a challenge in math would excite and benefit them. Algebra and Geometry are two of the accelerated courses to be offered starting the fall of 2008. The request to make high school credit available to students who complete accelerated Algebra and Geometry has been requested at the state level. If the request is approved, the students who complete such a program will be able to focus on areas of interest for more of their high school years. This could also mean students graduating from high school early, and saving money in college. This is truly a remarkable opportunity for all students who choose to take the challenge upon themselves.

Although in name, STEM seems to focus on math and technology, there is no reduction in Language Arts concentrations. There will still be rigorous attempts made to uphold and surpass, to the highest degree, the state Language Arts standards at all levels. There will also be the opportunity to take German class throughout the seventh and eighth grade years in order to gain yet another high school credit. In the globalization of our economy it is evident that exposure and fluency in world languages benefits all students who choose to study them. In addition to Language Art, students will also be challenged in Social Studies at all grade levels and have selective courses in the areas of Music, Art, and Family Consumer Science.

The STEM initiative is an extension of the already excellent education offered at Helfrich Park. It aims to give all students the opportunities to reach their potential. The goal of the STEM program is not to belittle any area of the already existing curriculum. It is, however, in place to highlight and expound on the already exceptional classes and activities with extensive hands-on and inquiry studies that will further the education of ALL student with ALL interests and learning styles.