Our STEAM Education Project
Many of you have asked me what type of school our children attend and why don't they attend the school assigned based on their home address.
The reason as to why they don't attend their designated school is because we learned very early on that the curriculum was not advanced enough for our son. In fact, our son was regressing instead of progressing. Little Billy had attended private school since he was six months old. Therefore, we decided to look around. We were recommended to Virginia L. Heard Elementary and their Advanced Learning Specialty Program about three years ago. Our son was tested during the summer and the rest is history.
WHAT IS AN ADVANCED LEARNING SPECIALTY PROGRAM?
An Advanced Learning Specialty Program provides elementary school students with an enriched, accelerated curriculum that meets the needs of the advanced learner. Visual and performing arts are also an important part of this program. To qualify, all students, first through the fifth grade must meet rigorous entrance requirements.
WHY ATTEND AN ADVANCED LEARNING SPECIALTY PROGRAM?
- STEAM--Students are engaged in lessons where they investigate and incorporate concepts from science,technology, engineering, art and math to become innovative life long learners.
- Students are provided R.A.R.E. (Rigorous, Accelerated, Relevant, and Engaging) learning experiences. Core Knowledge® materials are used as resources to teach students in culturally-based, comprehensive activities. Student-centered lessons allow students to work collaboratively using higher-level thinking skills and problem-solving strategies.
- Twenty-first century technology is used throughout the school. Computers are in each classroom, as well as in our state-of-the-art Computer Lab.
- Students in first through fifth grade are offered the opportunity to take violin on campus before or after the school day.
- Dance classes are offered by the Maxine Patterson School of Dance on the Heard campus.
- Foreign Language is taught in kindergarten through the fifth grade.
- Students take weekly Art classes from a certified Art teacher who frequently supervises student teachers from SCAD on the Heard campus.
- Science Lab, hands-on experimentation and investigation, enhances classroom science instruction as part of the weekly Fine Arts classes at Heard.
- All specialty program teachers are gifted-certified.
- Heard has five teachers who work with students in the Gifted Education Program (GEP).
- GEP Teachers serve all classes through enrichment. Identified gifted students are specifically served in pull-out classes.
- The GEP Program features competitions in the Stock Market Game, Quiz Bowl, and various contests throughout the year.
- There are various student leadership opportunities at Heard: Student Council, National Junior Beta Club, and Safety Patrols.
- Students have an opportunity to participate in after-school enrichment camps held every marking period.
- Heard has a strong school-family-community partnership. PTA projects offer parents numerous opportunities to participate in both the academic and social events at the school.
I think the information above answers a lot of your questions. Now, keep in mind that all schools operate at a different level. Since the cost of a private school is very high, I think this is the next best option.
We are constantly helping the kids with projects. We have lots of homework that include reading and comprehending as well as Math online.
Our son's biggest project was his science project which lasted approximately five months, from beginning to end.
Our daughter was presented with a "February Choice Menu".
Students had to chose ONE topic to research, it can be someone who has had made an impact on history and can be remembered during Black History Month or a President of our country. Students also needed to research and write five important facts about their person. They also needed to create a poster or craft that represented their person as well.
This activity was created to help the students become more familiar with the engineering design process as Heard is on its way to becoming a STEAM School. As parents, we were instructed to talk with our children about the five steps of the engineering design process:
- Create; and
Ms. Bree chose to do her project on "Harriet Tubman". I truly believe in letting my children express themselves and I push them to try to make their own decisions. Our sweet daughter has no problem in that area.
She knew from the very beginning who she wanted to talk about. Of course, I still asked the question: "But do you even know who Harriet Tubman is ma petite?"- her response was simple, closing her eyes and pressing her little fist to her forehead she said "of course I know, she was the brown girl who was a teacher, she conducted the underground railroad and help lots of people to be free".
Now, let me say this. You think you remember everything you studied in your younger years, but no, you don't, at least I don't.
My job was to help her do research, I found all of the first grade level biographies I could find. We read them together and we learned so much about Harriet Tubman. It was an eye opening experience. Sad at times but she was a very brave, strong and determined individual.
Below you will see a few other projects from Bree's classmates.
GEORGIA DAY PARADE
As part of the annual commemoration of the founding of the Georgia colony of February 12, 1733 by James Edward Oglethorpe. All students, musicians, local dignitaries, and costumed historical figures march through Savannah’s historic squares during this beloved annual event. The parade usually starts at 10:30 in the morning and the kids end at the park to enjoy some sun and a fun filled picnic before returning to school.
Not everybody is required to dress up but, what kid doesn't like to dress up right? Well, unfortunately, our son was sick and was not able to be part of the parade but Ms. Bree did and she was in the good company of her "BFF", Ms. Madi.
WATCH THE LOCAL VIDEO HERE: