On Monday, May 8, a team representing Magnolia School District and Robert M. Pyles STEM Academy celebrated completion of a year-long professional learning institute at the Discovery Science Cube in Santa Ana.  The OC STEM Ecosystem Institute was designed to strengthen Orange County school district leadership through the development and implementation of Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education programs.  During the twelve-month time period, district and school leaders were prepared for instruction of California’s Next Generation Science Standards and provided with professional development related to STEM teaching practices.  Much and many thanks to the developing partners of the OC STEM Ecosystem Institute:  Orange County Department of Education, WestED, the California STEM Learning Network and the California After School Network, with planning contributors from Children and Families Commission of Orange County, Discovery Cube Orange County, Science@OC, THINK Together, Tiger Woods Learning Center, and University of California, Irvine, School of Education.  Our long-term partnership with the Institute will continue to support our STEM programs for girls and boys across all grade levels in Magnolia School District.

Students in Grades TK-6 are enjoying a rich 21st century curriculum with an emphasis on computer science immersion. After an intensive period of learning computer coding basics via the Scratch program, boys and girls have advanced to using their coding skills to build LEGO robots. Robots perform functions (moving forward, backward, spinning) and eventually solve challenges in response to students’ programming. It is so exciting to walk through the LEGO Robotics Lab to watch students and their robots in action. Much appreciation to ALL of the Robert M. Pyles STEM Academy staff for their commitment to 21st century teaching and learning!

Robots are also invading our campus after school. Under the supervision of Brianne Langlas (Speech and Language Pathologist), a group of tech-talented 5th grade students have the opportunity to work with a different type of robot. “Dash” is a real robot that responds to voice, navigating objects, dancing, and singing based on students’ digital commands. Like the program used during regular school hours, students use their coding skills to make “Dash” complete content-integrated challenges. Most recently, “Dash” helped students to learn about the life cycle of butterflies and spiders.

Thursday, March 23 was a special night for the Robert M. Pyles STEM Academy community! Students, parents, staff, and community partners came together to celebrate the school’s intensive focus on computer science and the integration of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) instruction.  Students, staff, families, and special guests waited with bated breath as the bright red ribbon encircling the new school marquee was ceremoniously cut by MSD Board of Trustees’ President, Mr. Gary Shields.  At last, the marquee was revealed and everyone in attendance cheered for the Robert M. Pyles STEM Academy’s grand re-opening!  All in attendance were then treated to a special STEM song performed by 2nd grade students under the instruction of music teacher, Jennifer Atchue.  Additional activities for families and guests included slide shows of students actively engaged with computer coding and STEM experiences as well as classroom visits.  School staff members provided guided tours for dignitaries including City of Stanton elected officials, community business owners, team members from the Gang Reduction Intervention Partnership (GRIP), MSD Board members, MSD Superintendent, cabinet administrators, and even a Senate representative.  It was a wonderful evening of celebrating teaching and learning 21st Century Skills!    

 

At Robert M. Pyles STEM Academy, the first Friday of each month is Family First Friday.  Parents are invited to our PAWS Applause assemblies, information/education meetings, and to visit children’s classrooms.  On Friday, February 3, parents were treated to a unique learning experience integrating STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) disciplines.  Mrs. Breese taught parents the science concepts behind catapults (force, motion, acceleration) and then described how students’ lessons would further integrate the disciplines of technology (web-based research, coding), engineering (design, construction), and mathematics (measurement, geometry).  Parents then had the opportunity to design and construct their own catapults to launch projectiles toward targets.  Finally, teachers opened their doors and families were invited into classrooms to participate in live STEM learning with their children.  It is full STEM ahead at RMP STEM Academy!