Five-Year Strategic Plan
April 23, 2013
West Seattle STEM Elementary School (originally K-5 STEM at Boren) was established in September of 2012 in response to community input regarding the need for STEM education at the Elementary level in Seattle Public Schools. West Seattle STEM has drafted a Mission Statement that expresses the aspirations of our community:
STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics education. With an emphasis on establishing a highly diverse student and staff population, we at West Seattle STEM Elementary seek to draw from the wide range of academic and life experiences brought here by all participants. We strive to craft a learning community that addresses the needs of all students as they engage in Project-based Learning activities driven by the Common Core Standards, realworld scientific challenges, and the economic demands of the 21st Century. Our goal is to inspire students to develop an appreciation of the STEM disciplines, while fostering innovative thinking, and to provide them with the Core knowledge and skill-sets necessary to explore potential professional
opportunities in STEM related fields.
With a strong focus on project-based learning, staff and support-community members will promote two strategies to facilitate the delivery of a rigorous STEM program: Curriculum Integration and Cross-grade Curricular Articulation.
Curriculum integration is a teaching strategy whereby the boundaries between individual subject areas are taken down and most activities make connections to other subject areas. For example, a study of North America’s industrial history is also an opportunity to research or perhaps even design a steam engine.
Curriculum articulation is the logical progression of learning objectives from grade level to grade level, from course to course, within each curricula area. Articulation requires close collaboration by staff across all grades. For a student to successfully progress from Grade 3 to Grade 4, he or she will experience all the necessary prerequisites in 3rd Grade to be successful in 4th Grade without
the need for remediation.
Depending on the availability of financial, material and facilities-related resources, the goals below may be expanded or scaled-back based on current fiscal realities. Therefore, this is a living document.
Goal 1.- – Full Integration of STEM Across All Elementary Curricular Areas
a. STEM provides the platform to integrate Social Studies, Art, Physical Education, Music, Literacy (Reading and Writing), and Social Development while serving as the primary focus of learning at West Seattle STEM Elementary School (WSS). Special emphasis will be given to the integration
of literacy across all STEM domains.
Goal 2. – – Articulate Science Curriculum Across Grade Levels
a. Seattle Public Schools provides basic science curriculum through NSF kits. Utilizing allotted hours for Professional Development and our Professional Learning Communities, WSS staff will develop a curriculum customized to integrate STEM across all learning areas (1a. above) over
five years, with full implementation of this goal in the fifth year of this strategic plan.
Goal 3.- – Articulation of Technology Curriculum Across Grade Levels
a. Technology learning experiences at WSS will be embedded into all facets of student learning. There are three areas within which students will familiarize themselves with common and specialized technologies. Utilizing Professional Development and Professional Learning
Community opportunities, WSS staff will develop a curriculum customized to integrate:
1. Computer-based software learning (including hand-held devices).
2. Digital, electro-mechanical, and pneumatic robotics (also see Engineering).
3. Simple machine building and design. Technology learning at WSS will focus on both practical skills and those experiences that provide students opportunities to develop life-long interests
in technology-based careers.
Goal 4.- – Articulation of Engineering Curriculum Across Grade Levels
a. WSS will implement the Engineering is Elementary curriculum to provide introductory engineering experiences to students. Utilizing Professional Development and Professional Learning Community time, WSS staff will develop a curriculum customized to integrate fundamental engineering experiences across all grade levels over five years, with full implementation of this goal in the fifth year of this strategic plan.
Goal 5.- – Articulation of Mathematics Curriculum Across Grade Levels
a. WSS has adopted the Singapore Math Program. This curriculum is closely aligned with the Common Core Standards and fully articulated from grade-to-grade. Where schedule adjustments must be made to prepare students for State and District exams, WSS Professional Learning Communities will adapt the curriculum to accommodate testing requirements. However, Singapore Math is a rigorous curriculum that accelerates students in some areas of mathematics beyond the Common Core Grade-level Standards. Teaching staff will utilize the Singapore Math curriculum planning schedules year-to-year with the goal of preparing as many students as possible to enter
Advanced Mathematics classes when they leave 5th Grade.
Goal 6.- – Articulation and integration of Literacy Across All Grade Levels
a. Given the STEM emphasis across all curricular areas at WSS, and the need to integrate Literacy into all student-learning experiences, WSS staff will customize a literacy program to support student work in all curricular areas. Four strategies will be employed to meet the Common Core goals established for each grade level.
1. Employ the Seattle Public Schools strategies utilized in Readers and Writers Workshop to support students in their development of Narrative Reading and Writing skills.
2. Continue to use (while available) Reading Wonders to support students in the development of sentence structure, grammar, syntax, and paragraphing.
3. Design and implement a customized expository reading and writing curriculum to support student work specific to the STEM domains.
4. Implement Read Naturally (or similar) computer-based intervention program to support struggling readers at all grade levels.