On Thursday, August 31, at 5 p.m., Summerour Middle School will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its new Entrepreneurship Science Technology Engineering Arts and Mathematics (eSTEAM) Academy. The eSTEAM Academy blends these subjects into inquiry-based, hands-on learning that more closely aligns with what students will experience in high school, college, and the workplace. The goal is to prepare students for high school while providing them with a competitive edge in a global economy that is centered on growing STEM/STEAM careers. Both middle schools in the Norcross Cluster—Summerour and Pinckneyville—are offering the eSTEAM Academy this year, better preparing their students to make decisions regarding high school options in the Norcross Cluster (The IB Program and JA Academy at Norcross High and the offerings at the new Paul Duke STEM High School opening in August 2018).
Eighth grade students participate in the eSTEAM Academy where they learn the Academic Knowledge and Skills (AKS) curriculum through a lens that allows them to explore eSTEAM areas. The school has added several new Connections to its offerings which will allow students to explore new and different areas of interest and careers including: computer programmer, medical illustrator, entrepreneur, marketing analyst, chemist, game designer, engineer, architect, and forensic investigator.
The eSTEAM Academy uses Problem-Based Learning (PBL) as an instructional approach that focuses on solving problems found in everyday life. PBL is not a class, but a tool or strategy that students will use to show their learning. Generally, students gain knowledge to tackle realistic problems, providing students with more control over their learning and allowing students to work collaboratively in pairs or groups. This type of instruction is associated with eSTEAM because it focuses on students demonstrating knowledge and skills in a real-world context. This helps students answer the question, “Why am I learning this?” as they address problems and challenges often connected to their community.
Following the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Summerour Middle School will hold its Curriculum Night at 6 p.m.