STEM at FJA: An Exciting New Era

holodnickThe world of the 21st century is markedly different from that of the past. Our students are entering a society and workforce that has experienced tremendous change in the past few decades. Today’s graduates need the ability to think critically, make judgments, and solve complex, multidisciplinary, and open-ended problems. Students need creativity and entrepreneurial thinking as well as strong communication and collaboration skills.

In order to more fully address the unique demands placed upon our 21st century students, Frankel Jewish Academy has undertaken a new and important initiative. The William Davidson Foundation has awarded FJA an incredibly generous grant to implement a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) curriculum to our already impressive and successful educational program. This grant will allow our school to build a Digital Fabrication Lab, design and implement current best pedagogical practices, as well as create a curriculum grounded in the focus of STEM education. To ensure our success, FJA has partnered with Teaching Institute for Excellence in STEM (TIES), the nation’s foremost innovator in STEM design, curriculum, and instructional support. This spring and summer we will be building our functioning Digital Fabrication Lab supplied with MIT-curated equipment under the guidance of TIES.

The technology and new space mean very little without the heart and soul of our school – the teachers.  In preparation for these new opportunities and spaces, TIES will lead professional development to acclimate FJA teachers to the Fab Lab and support them in curriculum revisions that build upon and utilize the Fab Lab capabilities and resources.

Beyond increasing STEM elements to our already existing programs and curricula, the 2016-2017 school year will offer new and revitalized course offerings. Students at FJA will have the opportunity to take a new AP Environmental Science course.  We are also offering a new and unique course for the highest-level math and science students, Science Research and Design, which will culminate with student participation in the Weitzman Institute Physics Tournament.

The support of the William Davidson Foundation has brought a new era for Frankel Jewish Academy.  We are excited about the future and proud of what our students will experience and learn as a result of these initiatives.