The Ohio Academic Standards provide the foundation upon which the academic curriculum at Taft Elementary School is based. We proudly proclaim to be the first STEM Elementary School in the nation. A STEM school is one that encompasses the principles of Problem-Based Learning (PBL), Universal Design for Learning (UDL), and differentiated instruction through science, technology, engineering and math. Taft Elementary is a school that provides opportunities for students of diverse backgrounds to be successful through multiple instructional approaches.
In PBL, learners are progressively given more and more responsibility for their own education and become increasingly independent of their teacher for their learning. PBL produces independent learners who can continue to learn on their own in life and in their chosen careers. The problems in PBL are designed to challenge learners to develop effective problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
Teachers and Students UDL help meet the challenge of diversity by suggesting flexible instructional materials, techniques, and strategies. Novice learners become expert learners, who are:
- Strategic and goal-oriented
- Resourceful and knowledgeable
- Purposeful and motivated
- Through the use of state-of-the-art technology, partnerships established with the community and business partners, and through research-based strategies, students in a STEM school are able to engage, express and represent learning in multiple ways.
It is clear that STEM is much more than the subjects that make up the acronyms (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). STEM is an approach to education used to increase access to learning and skills necessary for the 21st Century. Our STEM education approach emphasizes student-centered, collaborative learning and is process-driven, so that all students have the knowledge and skills necessary for success in a highly technological world.
What is STEM?
STEM at Taft Elementary is a curriculum that:
- Supports the development of core academic competencies
- Introduces basic knowledge and skills critical to the lives of students
- Integrates literacy, technologies, and engineering with math and science
- Integrates math and science with literacy skills (reading, writing, and communication skills) to form the basis of the curriculum with authentic application in engineering and the technologies of the 21st century
- Includes inquiry, engineering design, and problem-solving — essential processes within STEM learning
- Focuses on developing 21st Century Learning skills to produce STEM-literate students
- Develops skills of self-direction, higher-order thinking, information/visual/media literacy, collaboration, and local and global awareness (21st Century Learning Skills) through student-centered, collaborative learning in real-world contexts
- Develops not only academic learning, but also socio-emotional learning
- Establishes a community that supports students as they work toward self-awareness, social awareness, responsible decision making, self-management, and relationship management