STEM Learners 1.1
1.1 - The STEM School supports non-traditional student participation through outreach to groups often underrepresented in STEM program areas.
Barbara Morgan STEM Academy (BMSA) is a STEM magnet school in West Ada School District. Families within our diverse area of attendance are encouraged to apply through a deliberate, proactive and varied outreach plan which includes distributing information about our school at community events, strategic mailings and hosting monthly school tours. As a part of our outreach and retention plan, English Learner (EL) families are invited to monthly meetings to ensure they are well-informed about school events and activities. Information is provided in a variety of languages to ensure these families can be active stakeholders in our school decision-making process.
BMSA serves as the regional District EL Magnet School for our attendance area. Approximately 14% of our student population are second language learners and receive support for this as a part of their school day. Students in the EL magnet receive priority placement in our enrollment process. The remaining students are selected through a lottery system that has no bias toward gender, ethnicity, or ability. We accommodate a wide range of learners ranging from special needs students to gifted students. We also serve a significant number of students affected by poverty. Currently, 30% of our students qualify for free or reduced lunch.
With 466 Students, these are our current demographics:
- 46% Female
- 54% Male
- <1% American Indian
- 2% Asian
- 2% African American
- 15% Hispanic/Latino
- 3% Two or More Races
- 77% White
- 14% of our student population receives support from EL
- 3% of our student population receives Special Education support
We have strategically organized our instructional day into educational blocks which ensure that 100% of our students participate in STEM education daily. This includes STEM-focused project-based learning in general education classrooms, as well as additional STEM education with our certified STEM education teacher. Often, classroom teachers and the STEM educator collaborate to provide lessons together. Offering a high-quality STEM program to all students in our school ensures underrepresented students are intentionally provided a high quality, enriching STEM experience.
BMSA has an outreach plan to increase the number of under-represented students in our many STEM clubs and our family STEM Engineering nights. The STEM outreach plan has measurable goals to increase enrollment, support, and retention of students from under-represented groups.
The 2018 - 2019 STEM enrollment plan is specific with measurable goals:
- Increase the number of girls and minorities participating in STEM clubs such as Robotics Club, Coders Club, Engineering Club, Technology Club, Chess Club, and STEM Racing Club, with the goal of our club enrollment demographics matching our school demographics for girls and minority students.
- Teachers will reach out to girls and minorities to encourage them to participate.
- Recruit female leaders for Robotics Club, which currently has the fewest number of girls participating as compared to other clubs.
- Increase the number of minority students and parents participating in STEM Family Nights.
- Promotions for the event will be translated into Spanish.
- EL Teacher will promote the event with EL Families and be present to offer support to EL parents in attendance.
Historically, females and minority groups are underrepresented in STEM education. We strive to promote active participation from these groups in events in a variety of ways at BMSA. One example has been to provide our female students with female leaders in the STEM industry. We intentionally hired a female STEM specialist teacher to promote that women can be successful scientists. Also, our namesake, Barbara Morgan is one of the most popular female scientists/astronauts in our State and is well known throughout the country. She's involved with our school and plays an advisory role to help guide our decision making. Additionally, student leadership opportunities are provided to females at our school through Girls on the Run, in which girls are mentored in skills needed to be successful leaders. We ensure equal representation by girls and other underrepresented groups on our Student Leadership Team, as well as in all clubs.
STEM Learning is for all students at Barbara Morgan STEM Academy
Daily STEM Opportunities
Our specialist teachers and principal meet each year to systematically design our block schedule. We intentionally design the schedule to allow for common planning and collaboration times, but also to create opportunities for all students to participate in classroom activities and specials. We have designated a "Tool Time" each day where students receive interventions and instruction geared toward their individual learning needs. This allows for special education students and EL students to receive support without missing critical STEM activities in their regular classroom. In addition, all students rotate through a schedule of specials which includes STEM, Music, Library, Computer, and PE every four days. STEM is integrated into all Specials and core content areas each day.
STEM Family and Community Outreach Nights
In the fall, BMSA hosts a Family Engineering Night. This is truly a full-family event where parents, younger or older siblings and other family members beyond our student population are invited to explore a STEM topic such as flight, automobiles, simple machines or bridges. Families collaborate to engineer a design idea in response to a topic-based challenge. They face the constraints of time and materials and ultimately test their design idea. Families are encouraged to redesign and share ideas using our BMSA WISE Way process. Teachers pay extra attention to proactively and strategically invite all families to attend this community event. One way we ensure our EL families are represented in our Family Night is by inviting them to the school prior to the event for a preview of the night’s events. Families get to see the activities that they will be participating in and ask questions. Often this is done in the native language of the family, ensuring they have a thorough understanding of the event and can actively support their child.
Outreach to Encourage Career and College Readiness
Another focus at BMSA is equipping students with the skills they need to be successful in school now, and those they will need to achieve their future career and college goals. One example of our outreach with EL students is taking them to tour a local university. Many of our EL students will become first-generation college students in their families. The opportunity to tour the college, discuss careers and talk to college staff about attending a university is significant. Several of our BMSA students also present their coding and technology skills at local conferences. Students lead instructional centers for both students and adults. Another example of the strategic outreach we do at BMSA is connecting students to real-life experiences in which they will use their STEM skills. While working on coding skills, for example, students practice programming a robotic arm to move.