STEAM curriculum expected for 2018-19 at Liberty
By Billy Ludt
After hearing from the community and its students, Liberty Local School District officials are planning to integrate a curriculum that will fuse school subjects by next school year.
“We had families tell us to offer it, or they’re leaving,” said superintendent Joe Nohra.
So the district is moving forward on a K-12 science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) curriculum.
“In the spring, the administration realized it was time to take a look at the fine arts and STEM,” Nohra said.
It’s not a separate STEAM program that students must enroll in, but the curriculum will be integrated throughout the school district.
Classes will highlight other subjects, and can prepare students – if they’re interested – for careers available regionally, Nohra said.
“We don’t have enough people with the science and math skills to fill those jobs,” he said.
This will come in the form of classes geared toward engineering, like some that will give students hands-on experience with building, programming and piloting drones.
“It’s things they’ve never been introduced to in their young age,” said Andrew Scarmack, middle-school principal.
The hand-eye coordination required for the visual arts can translate into computer-aided design, learning to read and play music, and placing notes on a musical staff crosses with engineering.
“Music is math,” said Maggie Pentz, a recently hired ninth-grade physical science teacher.
Pentz is head coach of Liberty High School’s robotics team.
At a meeting this past fall, 160 people came to lobby for school extracurricular activities. Nohra said 90 of them were there for robotics.
Nohra said the district plans to make programs such as robotics available to any interested student.
In addition, the district is looking into moving the seventh and eighth grades into the high school.
“We’re taking a calculated risk,” Nohra said. “But we know that this is what the community wants.”