Observing the excitement on the faces of students during a robotics tournament two years ago was the push staff members at Roberta Tipps Elementary School needed to transform their school into one that emphasizes science, technology, engineering and math.
But instead of becoming STEM focused, staff members wanted to add another subject into the equation as well.
“We felt like the arts gets left out a lot, and our students are really creative in that department," said Principal Cristina Hernandez. “The singing, the dancing, the acting, the drawing—we didn’t want to exclude that.”
To incorporate the arts, the decision was made for the school to become a STEAM academy. STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, arts and math.
This school year is the Roberta Tipps STEAM Academy’s first year of operation under this new cross-curricular learning model.
“We present our students with a variety of activities or challenges that help them to think critically, to be creative, to collaborate and communicate with their peers,” said Hernandez. “We’ll also incorporate STEAM clubs in which kids get to rotate into a new subject every grading period. It’s a way for our learners to get even more interaction with these subjects in a fun way.”
Hernandez admits that the coronavirus outbreak has slowed down some of her plans a bit, but she and her team are still finding ways to encourage a collaborative campus.
She said the students have given her positive feedback already.
“They were so excited, and it lets us know that we’re doing something right,” Hernandez added. “That’s what it always boils down to. If they’re happy and learning, we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing.”
The Roberta Tipps STEAM Academy is an option in Mansfield ISD’s Power of Choice initiative. Admission is based upon available space.