“It gives the kids a chance to show off what they’ve done and what they’re learning,” said instructional coach Jenny Katzen, curator of the showcase. “It’s really cool to see kids excited about things they usually wouldn’t be able to do at school.”
Among the many class options this semester were the science of chocolate chip cookies, 3-D drawing and printing, bridge design, book writing and illustrating, think tank trainees, Hamilton, and weather.
During the event, students who attended weather, for example, displayed weather instruments such as thermometers, anemometers, and cloud classifications. Showcase attendees had the chance to see journals with evidence of work along with pictures. Students enrolled in Hamilton dazzled attendees with a live Rose Broadway spectacular during two shows.
“We’ve been really working on student-driven learning,” Principal Nanci Pass said about the importance of the multi-grade STEAM program, now in its second year.
She explained there are many benefits to the program, where students meet once a week in an elective STEAM class throughout the semester. Among them, student engagement is increasing while behavioral issues are decreasing. Nanci explained the answer for this is simple: Because students have options for the elective, “they want to be a part of the class.”
These benefits have been noteworthy beyond the school community, with other community members recognizing the work. The Milpitas Rotary Club raised $10,000 for the program at a sold-out fundraiser in September.