January 17, 2019
What is a STEAM School? How Paraclete is Shaping the Next Generation of Innovators
Written by Deb Stevens
Progress and technology are moving faster than ever before. Just think about how many of today’s industries and jobs didn’t exist five or ten years ago! In fact, it is estimated that 65 percent of children entering primary school today will ultimately end up working in completely new job types that don’t yet exist.
To keep up with the speed of innovation, students need to be prepared with the skills that will be needed for the jobs of the future. Sending students to a STEAM-focused high school is one way to prepare them for success in both higher education and the workforce.
What is STEAM?
Before we take a deep dive into STEAM, you may be more familiar with the term STEM. It stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. The STEM approach focuses on educating students in these core areas by integrating these concepts into every aspect of the curriculum.
In the U.S., fewer students have been focusing on STEM subjects in recent years. Currently, 28 percent of high school freshmen declare an interest in a STEM-related field, according to the Department of Education. But nearly 60 percent of these students will lose interest in STEM by the time they graduate from high school. By instilling these concepts into every aspect of the curriculum, high schools can help students nurture their interest and grow their proficiency in math, science and technology.
So, where does the “A” come in?
Recently, educators have found that a key theme is missing from STEM: art and design. Art and design are poised to transform our economy in the 21st century just as science and technology did in the last century. The arts are critical components to innovation. Adding the arts to a STEM-centered curriculum helps to incorporate artistic and design-related skills and thinking processes to student learning.
STEAM schools are dedicated to providing environments where students can learn and master STEAM concepts that will prepare them for both college and career. With the STEAM educational approach, science, technology, arts, engineering, and math serve as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking.
STEAM at Paraclete High School
Educators at Paraclete High School believe firmly that a STEAM-focused approach produces the best outcomes for our students. We offer several programs specifically designed to align with STEAM principals and provide our students with in-demand skills.
Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science
In this course, students develop computational thinking vital for success across all disciplines. The course is unique in its focus on fostering student creativity. Students are encouraged to apply creative processes and to think creatively while using computer software and other technology to explore questions that interest them. They will also develop effective communication and collaboration skills, working individually and collaboratively to solve problems, and discussing and writing about the importance of these problems and the impacts to their community, society, and the world.
This extracurricular activity is part of the National Cyber Education Program. Paraclete students participate in the National Youth Cyber Defense Competition as part of CyberPatriot. The competition puts students in the position of IT professionals, tasking them with finding cybersecurity vulnerabilities, hardening networks, and maintaining critical IT services.
Paraclete offers an introductory robotics course that uses a hands-on approach to introduce basic concepts in robotics focusing on programming, micro-controllers, autonomous and tele-op controlled robots, and real-world applications.
Our robotics team qualified and attended the national competition in 2016, and qualified again in 2017. Our outreach to elementary and middle school students has a mission to get younger kids interested in robotics.
Paraclete students are required to complete three years of mathematics, which must include Algebra and Geometry. We strongly urge all students to take four years of math for college success. We work closely with students to ensure that the math courses they take align with their college aspirations.
Performing & Visual Arts
Art and design are critical components of a STEAM education. We require students to complete at least two semesters of art for graduation. Art classes at Paraclete encompass music, drama, studio art, film, and photography.
At Paraclete High School, we strive to help students become the innovators, educators, researchers, and leaders who can solve the most pressing challenges facing our nation and our world. A STEAM-focused approach to high school education is the way we get there.