New school year brings new focus on STEM at Northside ISD elementary school

SAN ANTONIO – More and more local school districts are emphasizing STEM, which stands for science, technology, engineering and math.

"Gone are the days where students are expected to sit in one desk," Hoffman Elementary Principal, Carrie Squyres said. 

At Hoffman Elementary School, students are no longer sticking to the typical script. A new STEM lab there has staff members reworking the teaching process with high hopes. 

"These students will have learned that it is acceptable to take risks, it's encouraged to take risks. They can collaborate and go beyond what we see on state assessments and the STAAR tests," Squyres said. 

It's a much more hands-on approach, but kids are still learning.

"I'll be doing a lot of technology and engineering that applies the science and the math concepts," new STEM lab teacher, Amanda Quick said.

Quick is no stranger to these methods. She taught a STEM course in Milwaukee and saw great results.

"I saw kids being really engaged. I was at a school where it was kind of a rough population and a lot of challenges, and the kids were really engaged when they came to STEM. They really worked well focusing on a problem rather than focusing on how their peers were acting," Quick said.

One of the high tech educational tools these students are using are dash robots. Kids as young as kindergarten are using iPads to code and drive robots through obstacle courses.

"They'll have 3D printers, so they can build pieces that they need to solve whatever project they have, or problem that they have," Quick said.

School officials says the recent change is due to the changing and evolving job market.

"The leaders in Northside recognized that there were pockets of innovation happening, and they wanted to come up with something that was going to help all students have access to stem," Quick said.

About the Author:

Max Massey is the GMSA weekend anchor and a general assignments reporter. Max has been live at some of the biggest national stories out of Texas in recent years, including the Sutherland Springs shooting, Hurricane Harvey and the manhunt for the Austin bomber. Outside of work, Max follows politics and sports, especially Penn State, his alma mater.