During the course of this academic year, The Basilica School will be pursuing its STREAM certification. STREAM is an acronym for Science Technology Religion Engineering Arts Mathematics. The certification process is impressive — curriculum mapping, aligning content and objectives to State standards, and even onsite instructional observations by the accrediting committee. Students will undoubtedly enjoy the addition of X-STREAM Wednesdays and our upcoming MakersSpace. We have posted below answers to some Frequently Asked Questions regarding STREAM.
While students from Catholic schools consistently outperform their peers in public schools, we are raising the bar to keep our competitive edge. Across the US, business leaders are having difficulty finding enough talent to stay competitive. Our children need to be able to inquire, think, investigate and innovate to succeed. STREAM will help prepare our students for successful careers in a 21st century workforce.
Is STREAM a significant change or just an acronym to bring us all together?
Following STREAM principles doesn’t mean we are changing the subject matter taught in our school, but if we do it well, it will mean big changes in how we teach and students learn. Multiple subjects in a grade will be integrated to culminate in hands-on, problem solving activities to cement knowledge, make learning more fun and show its applicability within our lives.
Supposedly, the curriculum won’t change in terms of subjects taught, but aren’t we going to focus more on science, math and technology?
The Basilica School’s curriculum still follows the overall guidance of the Archdiocese of Miami elementary schools and meets requirements of state and national standards. However, we will utilize the STREAM focus to integrated class subjects in instruction, as well as emphasize critical and creative thinking skills which results in hands-on accomplishments.
There is only so much time in the school day. If we are using time for STREAM activities, how much time can we take from the existing schedule and still follow our curriculum?
STREAM isn’t an add-on to the curriculum, so it doesn’t require an add-on to time. It is a re-organization of how the curriculum is delivered, so it only needs a re-organization of schedules, not extra time. For example, right now you might spend an hour teaching science, an hour at computer lab, and an hour on math. In the STREAM model you will teach the same science, computer and math, but you will integrate them and perhaps spend 3 hours per day on an in-depth project that incorporates the same math, science and tech standards that you used to teach separately. It’s not teaching different stuff; it’s teaching the same stuff differently.
When I look into STREAM principles, I am often guided to STEM high schools for examples. Are we trying to guide our students to STEM high schools?
Yes, because all high schools are moving toward the STEM model.
When will The Basilica School be a STREAM school?
We have already started implementing the STREAM focus. Becoming an official certified STREAM school is a 2 year process. Our STREAM certified assessment or school visit is scheduled for April, 2020.
Is STREAM part of Common Core Standards?
Common Core Standards are college-and career-ready standards for kindergarten through 12th grade, that were constructed by State education leaders of 48 states. They are designed to ensure that students graduating from high school are prepared to take credit-bearing introductory courses in college or enter the workforce. One should expect that most quality schools are already doing the things contained in these standards. At The Basilica School, Common Core represents the minimum standards for a good program.
Does STREAM related to the process of separating young students in elementary schools according to their knowledge, aptitude and skills?
No. That practice is called tracking or “streaming,” but the use of the root word “stream” in that instance has no relation to our use of the acronym STREAM (Science Technology Religion Engineering Arts Math). It is not a goal or strategy of STEM/STREAM schools to track students on career courses from elementary school. In fact, a characteristic of STREAM is to improve the educational and career opportunities of ALL students and increase participation in STEM subjects among the groups typically underrepresented in those fields.
How will STREAM implementation affect my tuition?
It won’t. Much of our early STREAM costs will be covered by Title IV funding. Private donations also make up a portion of our STREAM allowance. Beyond the implementation phase, STREAM costs will be partly assimilated within the operating budget and also be funded through community partnerships, donations and foundation grants.
Will all teachers and staff be STREAM trained? What does that look like? How will it happen?
Many of our talented teachers already possess the skills and training needed to implement a STREAM model. All of our teachers will receive on-going, innovative training in Technology Integration, Principles of STEM/STREAM, Engineering Design Process, Project-based, group learning, and eventually STEM Certification. Training will be provided in a variety of ways: in-house (teacher to teacher), outside consultants, and courses through colleges/universities.
As parent, I would like to be an active participant in any STREAM activities. Is this possible?
Not just possible, but hoped for. Some ways that parents can actively participate in STREAM are: assist with identifying and securing business/community partnerships, lead after school clubs aligned with STREAM, participate in STREAM field trips, brainstorm funding sources, and act as guest speakers to align the real world with classroom learning.
How does STREAM work in classrooms where student learning capabilities and student knowledge is diverse?
A main benefit of STEM/STREAM learning models is that it is naturally individualized. With project-based collaborative work each child is able to work to their potential. Advanced students are able to perform beyond the minimum expectation because there is no “end” to what can be done in an inquiry-based, project-based model.
Will there be faculty STREAM discussions around curriculum mapping to prevent overlap and repeat subject matter from year to year?
Yes! Teachers will meet at least monthly to share what they are doing and what they are planning. All STREAM learning activities must be aligned with state curriculum so there isn’t overlap or gaps.
If I have a potential business partner that could help with STREAM implementation, how do I go about introducing them to The Basilica School?
Have them contact Mr. Robert Wright.
Who determines a school is STREAM or not? Is there an oversight council or guidelines we need to meet?
NCEA has provided the model for STREAM education. The Florida Catholic Conference is the accrediting agency within the State of Florida that assesses a school’s STREAM readiness. For more information on the process, click here.