What is STEAM?In this climate of economic uncertainty, America is once again turning to INNOVATION as the way to ensure a prosperous future. Yet while innovation remains tightly coupled with Science, Technology, Engineering and Math – the STEM subjects, it is Art + Design that are poised to transform our economy in the 21st century just as science and technology did in the last century. We need to add Art + Design to the equation — to transform STEM into STEAM.
STEM + Art and Design = STEAMHow does California define STEM?An excerpt from the document "INNOVATE - A Blueprint for STEM""K-12 STEM education encompasses the processes of critical thinking, analysis, and collaboration in which students integrate the processes and concepts in real world contexts of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, fostering the development of STEM skills and competencies for college, career, and life."California's STEM Vision"California leads the world in STEM education, inspiring and preparing all of its students to seize the opportunities of the global society through innovation, inquiry, collaboration, and creative problem solving. "Oak Park's Mission Statement"Educating Compassionate and Creative Global Citizens"When we talk about compassion, we understand the literal meaning of the word, which is co-suffering. Compassionate people understand the plight and difficulties of others and work to alleviate suffering wherever it exists. We can demonstrate and practice compassion to others, to animals, to the environment. Children learn about compassion by observing adults practice it and by what they hear adults say. Schools can teach students about compassion in many ways, through literature, history, discussion, and by providing opportunities to do good.
Creativity is the spark that makes life interesting. We all possess it and it is important that a school system help students to discover it within themselves and nurture it. Creative people are interesting, solve problems, have open minds, and see the world in new ways. Creativity is probably the most important '21st century skill.'
We are citizens of our locality, of our state, and of our nation. We are also citizens of the world. When we look at the Earth from space we do not see borders and boundaries. We are part of a web of people who share this place. Being a good global citizen means participating in our own democracy, having a sense of social responsibility for the people around us, of our nation, and of the world, and caring for the environment we all share and will pass on to our posterity.How do we integrate Oak Park's Mission and the STEAM initiative?The OPUSD Steam Strategic PlanOPUSD has created a STEAM task force to take on the work of creating a strategic plan for our district. The purpose is to clarify STEAM for our district and ensure our students are equipped with the 21st Century Skills such as adaptability, complex communication, social skills, non-routine problem solving, self-management, self-development, and systems thinking. Develop STEAM programs where student investigations and projects present time and opportunity for teachers to help students develop these 21st Century Skills. They are tasked with creating a strategic plan that addresses the actions steps recommended by the state of California.In addition the plan should address our district's mission to educate compassionate and global citizens. This involves an integrated curricular approach to studying the grand challenges of our era. These are STEAM related issues such as energy efficiency, climate change, and hazard mitigation and developing the competencies to address the issues students will confront as citizens. This requires an educational approach that first places life situations and global issues in a central position and uses the STEAM disciplines to understand and solve the problem. This educational approach emphasizes competency in addressing the situation, problem, or issue, and not exclusively knowledge of concepts and processes within the respective STEAM disciplines. Below are competencies that could be used as learning outcomes for STEAM education.STEAM literacy for all students will be a priority for OPUSD.