Monday, February 5, 2018

Choose STrEaM!

Choose STrEaM!

February 2018

The 2018-19 schools lottery is open and February is "Visit Our Schools" month in ASD! STrEaM Academy is prepared to provide school tours every Tuesday at 9:30 AM. For many families, the tours are a part of the decision-making process in choosing a school to attend next year. What is STrEaM Academy and why should you choose us?

Our name, STrEaM, includes the "STEM" acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, and adds important elements of research and the arts. We are a unique charter middles school serving 6th, 7th and 8th grades. Driven by our mission, "Anchorage STrEaM Academy empowers students to be involved learners, critical thinkers and engaged citizens inspired by the natural world." How do we do this?

Curriculum and instruction at STrEaM centers around Project-Based Experiential Learning. This means the standards students must learn, know and do at each grade level are taught through an integrated, hands-on approach. Instead of traditional "sit and get" learning, teachers work together to design projects that incorporate STEM fields along with research and the arts. Projects encompass multiple standards, often involving several subjects. For example, in science and social studies students study energy by learning about renewable and non-renewable resources from scientific, social, political and economic perspectives. They simulate mining and oil drilling in labs, engineer wind turbines, focus on the viability of renewable energy resources like wind or hydroelectric in our community, and present Public Service Announcements (PSAs) on their topics as final assessments. The Project-Based Learning model engages students by providing choice and allowing them to explore interests, work hands-on,  collaborate in teams, engage in the community, research real topics and issues, and present to an audience. Teachers facilitating projects move from the "sage on the stage" to the "guide on the side," becoming facilitators of learning and empowering their students.

Hand and hand with Project-Based Learning at ASA is our focus on Experiential Education. We believe in getting kids outdoors and out in the community and environment in which we live. On a daily basis, we build in movement, activities, brain breaks, short recesses outdoors or walks in our local parks. Kids need exercise, activity and fresh air! On a broader scale, we plan at least once per month for a TREK (Teaching Research Education with Kids), a full-day field trip or excursion tied to learning and projects in our community and local environment. Our annual TREKs include trips to Arctic Valley and skiing at Russian Jack Park. Throughout the year guest presenters engage students on topics including STEM fields, wildlife, careers, local government, weather, energy and much more. Through these experiences our students are learning to be the future leaders and stewards of our community and environment.

The results of this approach to teaching and learning showed from our first year.  On the "Student Involvement" portion of the 2017 School Climate and Connectedness Survey, 65% of STrEaM students responded favorably, compared to the ASD average of 48%. Our students are engaged in learning and feel ownership of their education and their school. We expect even stronger results from the 2018 survey.

Climate and culture is critical to the health and success of students and a school. At STrEaM, we are dedicated to a positive, safe and engaging culture. Every student has a staff advisor and an advisory period, adding a smaller group of students for close support and a teacher who will help guide and mentor them. This year we have an enrollment of 110 students, with class sizes around 20 or less in most cases. For the 18-19 school year we project 150 students, and at the most we will grow to 300 students in the future. Our students care about their school culture. They elected to ban the "R" word last year in a show of solidarity and respect for people with disabilities, and understand we have no tolerance for bullying. Our students report far less bullying at STrEaM compared to other schools they've attended. We are and always will be a small school, which is conducive to a supportive, positive and safe family atmosphere.

Now over half way through our second school year, we are eager to meet the students coming to us next and joining our journey. Already, we are designing projects, planning TREKS, coordinating with presenters and organizing activities and events. We will add more STEM options like Coding and Robotics, and have 1 to 1 technology with student Chromebooks. Our facilities at Wayland Baptist were upgraded last summer, with the addition of two classrooms and an office upstairs, new carpeting downstairs, library shelves and a vastly expanded back yard area for recreation and play.

We are excited to begin year three with new adventures in education and a new core group of incoming students. Explorers wanted!

For more information: Call now 742-9000
Stop by between 8 AM and 4 PM at Wayland Baptist University on Muldoon, across from the Totem theatre .
Email the principal
Email the Admin. Assistant/front office
Visit our web page at
On Twitter @AKSTrEaMAcademy
Instagram @Anchorage_Stream_Academy

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