• STEM Frequently Asked Questions


    1. What is STEM?

        STEM is an integrated approach to teaching and learning that integrates science,
    technology, engineering and mathematics. All content areas are integrated across the curriculum.  STEM education actively engages students through hands-on learning and discovery.


    1. What is the difference between STEM classes and non-STEM classes?

       STEM students are involved in hands-on, highly engaging activities and lessons throughout their content classes.  STEM classes also focus on how the content connects to STEM.


    1. What characteristics does a student need to be successful in the STEM Academy?

        A STEM student has a passion for math and science, can learn math and science at a fast pace, is interested in learning English and social studies through the lens of STEM, enjoys using technology, likes to solve problems and design new things (Engineering), has thought about a possible future STEM career, and is able to work collaboratively in groups.


    1. How does English/Language Arts/Social Studies/History fit within STEM?

        ELA and Social studies TEKS are integrated within a STEM context.  Students will read non-fiction texts and have a greater focus on technical writing.  In social studies, they will emphasize the use of math and science. (geography, landforms, graphing)


    1. Can my child take GT classes in STEM?

         Absolutely! The STEM science and math classes follow an accelerated curriculum.  The humanities (Language Arts/Social Studies) are Pre-AP level courses. Those students that are identified as gifted/talented will be clustered together in their STEM courses.  In addition, students can select GT Independent Studies as a year long ELA Elective.


    1. What is the difference between STEM Academy and the ASPIRE Academy?

        The STEM Academy is designed to provide students an enriching, challenging education while incorporating engineering design principles.  Students in STEM will have accelerated math and science along with Pre-AP Language Arts and Social Studies.  There are not currently specific scores that need to be met to enroll in STEM.  All students who are capable of completing the rigorous curriculum are eligible for STEM.  

        The ASPIRE Academy is designed to meet the needs of highly gifted students who require significant modifications in the classroom environment.  Highly gifted students are defined as those with an aptitude score of 140 or above in any one area.  

     

    1. Can my student be in STEM and ASPIRE at the same time?

        No.  The STEM Academy is housed a GMS, while the ASPIRE Academy is housed at CTMS.  Students who are identified as gifted can not take STEM classes and Discoveries classes.  They are both designed with GT students in mind, but STEM will approach learning through an engineering lens while Discoveries is much more humanities based.


    1. How many STEM spots are available at GMS?

        The number of spots is determined based on enrollment and can not be determined until all enrollment forms are complete.


    1. Can Spanish-speaking or ESL students apply?

        Yes.

    1. Is the GMS STEM Academy sort of like a school within a school?

        Yes. We are a separate academy.  Students are a part of the academy for STEM classes, but are with the rest of the school for electives, fine arts classes and athletics.


    1. Do the teachers have a STEM Certification?

        All teachers are certified and highly-qualified in their content areas and are GT certified. The STEM Academy teachers participate in ongoing professional development and attend state and national conferences related to STEM education.


    1. What is the student eligibility criteria to apply for STEM?

        All students capable of working in Accelerated Math and Accelerated Science curriculum, as well as Pre-AP Language Arts and Pre-AP Social Studies may apply to the STEM program.


    1. Will the STEM Academy prepare my student to be successful taking college entrance exams?

        The STEM Academy follows all current state and district guidelines.  The district promotes a culture of college and career readiness.


    1. Can you join STEM in 7th Grade or 8th Grade?

        Yes.  Sixth and seventh grade students who are currently enrolled in accelerated math and accelerated science can move into the STEM program for 7th or 8th grade.  Students not enrolled in one or both accelerated classes will need to talk with the counselors before a decision can be made.  They will need a teacher recommendation and may be required to take a summer bridging course.


    1. Will STEM be expanded to other GCISD elementary and middle schools?

        There are no plans at this time to expand the program to other middle/elementary schools.


    1. Is there bus service for GCISD students to attend STEM? If there isn't, why is bus service provided for ASPIRE and not STEM?

        No, not at this time. STEM is an elected program, while Aspire is a needs-based program.

     

    17. Why don’t feeder schools like Silver Lake and Dove get priority lottery over the rest of the

     district?

             The STEM Academy at GMS is a district program and open to students district-wide.

     

    18.  What are the plans for STEM in high school?

         We will continue to grow programs by grade level, including to 8th grade in the STEM Academy at GMS for the 2016-2017 school year.  We are convening planning committees during the current and upcoming school year to design what the STEM program will look like at Grapevine High School.