Our mission and vision at STEM is...
to provide a personalized learning experience for all students. To help further articulate the rationale behind our model at STEM, as well as help paint the BIG picture (30,000 foot birds-eye view) for students, staff, families and our community of excited learners and supporters, please take a moment to reflect on the information offered throughout our website, as it very clearly articulates one of the 3 main components of the way we do business at the Waukesha STEM Academy, at our Saratoga Campus, for our middle school students... Proficiency-Based Pathways.
We would also like to continue to share out our "BIG 3," to help all families vested in their son and/or daughter's education at STEM, understand what we are all about. The three (3) main tenants that we hold very near and dear to our core-values, each and every single day, along with our Mission & Vision at the Waukesha STEM Academy are:
1). Proficiency-Based Pathways: Students are able to enter at different places in their educational pathway and move at different paces, based on their respective readiness-level.
2). STEM-Centered Learning Environments: The who, what, when, where, why and how of being at a STEM School, should be seen, heard and understood by everyone who shares learning experiences at our sites and it is not just a time of the day, or a period or class on a Friday afternoon... IT IS THE WAY WE DO BUSINESS.
3). Apply, Apply, Apply: Students are not just becoming masters of content, but experts in context, who can not only solve real-world problems, but can come up with solutions that are unique, ground-breaking and serve as change-agents to help make our world a more efficient, productive and safe place to live in... we are growing citizens who are leaders.
We are constantly building a "Road-Map" of sorts for all students, staff and parents, so that everyone is on the same page and the expectations are 100% clear and transparent, of what needs to be completed and accomplished for/by a student, to move on and "pass" on to the next phase of their academic career... whatever that may be. Since we look at a student's experience at STEM - Saratoga as a 3-Year journey (540 days of amazing learning opportunities), a component that needs to be clearly understood by all involved parties of a Proficiency-Based System, is that the intent behind this program model, is that students are entering our program at different places and moving at different paces and that this system has been built to support this flexible learning via different modalities of application.
I would always liken a Proficiency-Based Pathways system to sending a movie on an iPhone, or any other Smart Phone. We are always going to have students who are working on the extension-end of the learning continuum... whether it be because their readiness-level is higher when they entered their middle school years, or because they have worked extremely hard to advance themselves. We are also always going to have students who are in need of support, at the opposite end of the readiness-continuum, based on multiple factors and it is our job to ensure that that "iMovie" continues to move forward... not just the extension and front-end, but the back-end as well. As teachers and leaders in education who care so much about the success of our students, it is our duty to ensure that this movie continues to move forward, at both ends... and when we create opportunities for students to engage in and own their learning amazing things happen.