Florida STEAM School Goes 1:1 with Grant Funding
Students at a Florida magnet school are using a new
to add an "A" to the typical STEM program.
Thanks to a $1 million grant from the federal Magnet Schools
Assistance Program, Stone
STEAM Magnet Middle School in Melbourne, FL, is
rolling out a new computer initiative this spring that will give every
and teacher a Macbook Air computer. The digital learning initiative —
art to the traditional science, technology, engineering and math that
the STEM acronym — is meant to take advantage of cutting-edge
high-interest electives and an enhanced curriculum.
Students will receive approximately 900 new computers
they report back to school after the holiday break. Eventually, they
able to take the laptops home with them, following a gradual roll-out
to help students understand the responsibilities that come with new
Stone Technology Director Gordon Shupe said the
program is the
culmination of a "long dream" for him.
"Now students can really learn at a drop of a hat,"
told Florida Today. "They don't have to reserve a computer lab. They can just pop open
laptop and go and investigate that burning question they have."
Teachers at Stone spent much of the fall working on
curriculum revisions that will reflect the enhanced opportunities with
Teacher Rick Flesher said he is looking toward a blended
model where, for instance, he will assign students an essay on the
of Independence. They will write the essay on their computers, share it
other students and comment on each other's ideas.
Language arts teacher Emily MacWhinnie said she plans
the use of paper and pens completely from her classroom and some
already created "movie trailers" about library books they've read that
broadcast over the school's internal television network.
"People don't use phone books anymore," Shupe added.
use fold-out maps when they travel. We want our students to have
experiences that tie in with life outside the classroom."
Michael Hart is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and the former executive editor of THE Journal.