ST1.11: Students are supported in their STEM learning through adult-world connections and extended day opportunities.

Bates Middle School students are supported in their STEM learning through a variety of adult-world connections and opportunities, a key component of STEM learning. Our school provides opportunities for our students to have real-world connections through their experiences and participation in STEM-centered clubs, adult guest speakers/facilitators, career exposure, field studies, and project based learning. We have an onsite Career Specialist who facilitates both onsite and field study career experiences for our students. Students participate in career based field studies based on the 16 career pathways identified by our district. They are also able to participate in the annual Groundhog Job Shadow Day. Our community holds the Sumter County Manufacturing and Career Expo annually for our 8th grade students to showcase the advancements in modern manufacturing and technology and our 7th grade students attend the Sumter School District Education and Career Ready Summit. Our country holds the eSTEAM festival yearly beginning in 2018. The purpose of eSTEAM Sumter is to expose festival participants to advances and opportunities in ever-growing STEAM areas through interactive exhibits, fun-filled displays and hands-on activities.

Field trips, or “field studies” as we often call them, are an integral part of our problem-based PBL units. They serve to help engage in hands-on research about the subject matters as students work towards an end product. An example is our BioBantam student club. This club meets after school monthly and participates in five field studies per year.

We have several student clubs that participate in academic competitions during non-school hours. These clubs include the Science Olympiads, the Future Business Leaders of America, and the Quiz Bowl team. For the 2019-2020 school year, we have added a VEX Robotics competition team.

Bates holds numerous family outreach events that our families attend to engage in our STEM program. We have hands-on family nights, informational parent nights, and post monthly Take Home Family STEM activities on our school Facebook page.

Each summer, students have the opportunity to attend several STEM based summer camps. Our Gear Up specialist holds an Algebra 1 camp during the summer for students that will enter the course during the coming school year. Our district Career and Technology Center holds the annual All-Girls STEM-Mechatronics Camp. This camp is offered free to all rising 7th and 8th grade girls. Clemson also offers a summer program for rising 7th and 8th grade girls in engineering and math each summer. USC-Sumter offers summer STEM camps in which students can enroll. Students can apply for scholarships for the Clemson and USC-Sumter Camps.

We have many ongoing activities that help us build lasting adult-world connections. The majority of these occur during regular school hours. We will maintain these by continuing our partnerships and outreach with community partners and businesses. We continually seek STEM outreach programs in which our students can attend or that can come to our school. We are always looking to expand the selection of after school clubs available at Bates and will implement a VEX competition robotics club this school year. We are also working on implementing a STEM physics based summer camp session on our campus in 2020.