ST1.11: Students are supported in their STEM learning through adult-world connections and extended day opportunities.
Self Assessment Score: 3
The opportunity for our students to participate in STEAM experiences continues to grow each year. We continue to implement clubs, mentorships and projects that promote STEAM careers and showcase the 5Cs. One of our strengths is the students artistic and creative abilities which we showcase through their participation in schoolwide performances. We also provide a number of clubs which challenge our students to think and use technology in a variety of ways. We are weak in mentorship and internship programs that highlight our underrepresented group of students. We must continue to seek ways in which all of our students want to participate in the opportunities they have available to them outside of school and outside the school day.
Performances and Presentations
Spring Fling and Winter Spectacular
ADE’s Spring Fling and Winter Spectacular are the main musicals produced each year by our Music and Art departments. For more than 12 years students at Alice Drive Elementary have had the opportunity to perform on stage in Spring Fling. Because of the large number of students involved last year we decided on adding an additional performance for two performances. In December, students in kindergarten through second grade can participate in the Winter Spectacular Musical. In the Spring, in grades three through five can participate in the Spring Fling Musical. Every child that wishes to participate is able to do so. Students try out for speaking parts and solo performances. Dance numbers are choreographed by local dance studio teachers who graciously donate their time to come to the school during the day and work with our students. This allows any student who cannot stay after school to practice and be a part of the performance. Students in the Art Club assist with stage design and costumes. These students are part of the stage crew during the performances. Parents also provide assistance with scenery, props, and after school practices. The University of South Carolina Sumter Campus allows us to use their auditorium for our Winter performance and our Cultural Center allows us to use their auditorium for our Spring performance. Our past performances have been Moosical, The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, and Seussical the Musical. This year we will perform A Bugz Christmas and Aladdin.
In 2019, students in 5th grade began a new project in place of the typical Science Fair. Science Fairs are one and done, but The Invention Convention is a continuous cycle of learning. After students conducted research and built their model with the Engineering Design Process, they studied and learned about patents as well as explored entrepreneurship skills. They were given the task to invent something that no one had thought of before or tweak something that had already been invented, build a model, and present their model to the class using a creative backboard. They had the choice to work individually or to work collaboratively with a group. Our teachers created a rubric to use for grading. The projects were completed at home with check-in days throughout the cycle. Once completed, ADE hosted an Invention Convention inviting parents, teachers, and community to come see their projects and hear their presentations. The Item, our local newspaper, was here that night and gave us some amazing coverage and even interviewed two students. Many schools heard about what had been implemented at Alice Drive and wanted to know more, so several of our fifth grade teachers, the curriculum coach, and even several fifth grade students made an hour long presentation at the E3 Professional Development conference for Sumter School District. Both the teachers and students did a great job presenting the information, describing the process, and even shared their thoughts on how to make it even better this school year. Communicating our findings with our district community was a great opportunity for all involved.
Alice Drive Elementary participates in Groundhog Job Shadowing Day each February which gives our students the opportunity to experience the workforce firsthand by shadowing a relative in his/her respected STEAM jobs and careers. It is our hope that this experience will allow students to see some adult responsibilities and help them make decisions about their future career paths. On the elementary level, only fourth and fifth grade students are allowed to participate while our middle and high school students of Sumter School District are all allowed to participate. Students have a shadowing worksheet reflection they must complete with questions about what skills are necessary to perform the job, what education is required, what duties take place, etc. Absences for our students are excused when these forms are returned by the deadline provided. This experience exposes our elementary students to workforce at an early age and instills likes, dislikes, and interests that can impact their future STEAM career paths in positive ways.
Clubs and Field Trips
One way our STEAM program supports STEAM learning is through the variety of clubs we offer outside of the school day. These clubs offer opportunity for the 5Cs in STEAM to be practiced beyond the academic realm of school. All of our clubs are age appropriate and set purposeful goals. These clubs develop responsibility, leadership and self discipline in our students.
Alice Drive Elementary students participate in outside learning activities during the normal school day as well as extended day. We not only provide some of the most common field trip experiences but also intentionally plan excursions that will stretch the thinking of our students beyond their everyday culture. We believe that some of the most common experiences help our students, especially our younger learners, gain a better understanding through collaborating and community building. Hands-on experiences and mentorships create real world experiences students need to prepare themselves for 21st Century learning.
Opportunities Outside of School
Sumter School District offered a STEAM camp for the first time this past summer funded by Title I for students in Kindergarten through fifth grade. Each school was asked to provide a list of possible participants towards the end of the year and the half day camp ended up with around 50 children. The students were taught a lesson each day, communicated during question/answer periods, and then worked collaboratively in groups building Lego Wedo kits (Space Rover). They also explored hover kits and older students mentored the Kindergarten through second grade students on giver crafts. Several teachers from various schools were the leaders; including ADE’s own STEAM Lab teacher. Their final big event for the week was a field trip to the Museum of Science in Charlotte, North Carolina. The campers and the leaders had a great week and are hopeful it will be offered again this coming summer.
Our district provides opportunities for our students who are gifted in the arts to extend their learning outside of school. There are 27 schools in Sumter School District and 210 students were identified as gifted in visual arts, music, or theater. Nineteen of those students were from Alice Drive Elementary; roughly nine percent. We have the largest number of participating students of all elementary schools. South Carolina guidelines require students to go through a three step intensive selection process. Students then attend all day workshops for one month during the summer for an intensive study of their craft. At the end of the study they showcase their talents to the community.
Last year was the first year that our city hosted a community STEAM event called eSTEAM Festival. This year’s theme was “eSTEAM at work.” The eSTEAM is a family festival celebrating and bringing together enthusiasts in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math. The purpose is to expose festival participants to advances and opportunities in these ever-growing areas through interactive exhibits, fun filled displays and hands-on activities. The entertainment and STEAM adventure is sure to provide family fun to everyone. It brings together Educational Entities, Industries, Economic and Community Developers and STEM Organizations. (Sumter County eSTEAM page) It is sponsored each year by The Link Economic Development Alliance. This is a public-private economic development organization charged with facilitating the creation of jobs and the investment of capital in our region (from The Link Website). Our school has participated with an interactive display both years. Students, in art class, were given the opportunity to create a drawing to promote STEAM in the community. Schools across the area submitted artwork to be used for publicity on billboards across the area. ADE submitted 3 entries and one of our students won the overall competition. Winners were chosen by public vote at the event. We will soon see this picture on billboards throughout our community.
Alice Drive students participate in numerous “Passion Projects” throughout the year. These projects connect our school directly to the community while teaching our students compassion for others. We are a military community and we show our support by packing cookie tins and making cards for our airmen who are overseas. We also support a local children’s home by collecting toiletries, an animal shelter by collecting bags of dog food and blankets, host a can food drive for a local shelter, participate in Toys for Tots, The American Heart Walk, and Relay for Life. We also hold our own Cancer Walk each year on the playground. All day, a class will walk around the playground to support finding a cure for cancer. In our district among elementary schools, we raised the most money for Relay last year.