STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) Schools
Part of the DC Catalyst Project
What is STEM?
The acronym STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Use of the term “STEM” emphasizes the connection points and overlap among these areas of study.
How will the experience of students at a Catalyst STEM school be different than if they attended another school?
Catalyst STEM schools design classrooms, lessons, and school culture to highlight STEM issues and skills as a theme within all core subjects. In a STEM classroom, at any level and in any subject, students actively learn through discovery and hands-on lessons.
At the elementary school level, students don’t need advanced skills or specific interest in STEM careers in order to flourish. The integrated curriculum simply provides basic exposure to STEM fields as a theme around which to engage all core subjects. Topics of science and math, basic exposure to elements of design, and introduction to technology as a tool of learning are woven into the entire curriculum.
At the secondary level, active, project-focused classrooms are still ideal for integrating STEM topics, but more specific scientific content is also introduced. By 6th grade every student should have access to and should spend a significant amount of time in a science lab. A combination of hands-on lessons, rich exposure to technology, and an interdisciplinary approach to the curriculum will help prepare DCPS students for further education and a broad range of careers.
What are the benefits of a student attending a Catalyst STEM school?
In America today, a basic understanding of STEM concepts and skills is vital to being a productive member of our workforce and our democratic society.
Across the nation and locally in Washington, DC, jobs in STEM-related fields are among the fastest growing careers. On an international scale, the ability of the US to compete in a global economy depends on our ability to produce a highly-qualified generation of researchers, workers, and teachers in the widespread fields of science, engineering, and technology. Beyond STEM-specific careers, employers in every field are looking for employees who can work effectively with others to creatively solve problems. These skills are particularly highlighted in a STEM education.
The issues facing our nation and the world today also have explicit connections to STEM fields. As citizens, confronting and solving issues like the energy crisis, the threat of terrorism, and the national healthcare debate will require knowledge of STEM fields and the skills that a STEM education builds.
For more information, contact Office of Curriculum and Instruction.
More about Catalyst Schools »