July 2019
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Stewart STEM: Renovations & New Programs

The new school year brings myriad changes at Stewart STEM, ranging from major facility upgrades to exciting enhancements the grades 3-5 curricula.

Over the summer, new window applications were installed building-wide, in addition to the construction of a new building entranceway that greatly improves school safety.  “The new windows will offer a significant impact on the comfort of our classrooms, especially in the warmer months,” says Dr. Gregory Egnor, building principal.  “It will also provide significant savings in energy costs in the winter.”

As Stewart Elementary School begins its third year as a STEM school, Dr. Egnor believes that there is much to look forward to in 2013-14.  “Each year, there are changes and modifications to the STEM program,” says Dr. Egnor.  He says that one of the more exciting developments this year is an expanded LEGO Mindstorm robotics program.  This 12-unit curriculum teaches students how to build and program a basic robot.

Another major change for the new school year will be the elimination of TEC Time, which consisted of two 45-minute periods per week that emphasized  engineering/design processes.  According to Dr. Egnor, the decision to discontinue TEC Time was spurred by the fact that the school has successfully embedded “Engineering is Elementary” (EIE) in its core curriculum.  EIE has a heavy engineering/design focus.  Dr. Egnor says that the school will employ the time previously allocated as Tech Time to implement flexible grouping time and higher level STEM learning time.

“Engineering and design content will be part of every class, every day, as part of our entire curriculum,” he explains.  “The reason this is exciting is not because we’re looking to make kids engineers, but because engineering provides the best opportunities to problem-solve.  Our biggest message is that we want our students to learn in 21st Century ways, to inquire instead of being told, and to design, think, and problem-solve instead of being spoon fed information.”

Stewart will also introduce a new mathematics program this year.  The McGraw-Hill “My Math” series is aligned to PA Common Core Standards, which according to Dr. Egnor requires teachers to adopt new instructional practices.  Math coach Julie Hazlett has been working with teachers to help them adapt to the instructional standards mandated by Common Core.

In Reading, Dr. Egnor says that Stewart will introduce new novels this year.  The school will also promote more independent reading at a challenging level for each individual student, including the introduction of “Drop Everything and Read” independent reading time.  Building technology was upgraded with the addition of a second iPad cart this year.  Stewart STEM has also adopted the Olweus Anti-Bullying curriculum for the new school year, courtesy of a grant to the district.  The school will also host a series of STEM information nights for parents.

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