Staff from Johnson Elementary School of the Arts spent the Oct. 23 professional development day learning about two magnet school programs in Minneapolis, MN. Johnson is scheduled to become a STEAM Magnet School (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) in the fall of 2015.
Over 55 faculty, support staff, students, and parents made the bus trip to tour the Glacier Hills School of Arts and Science and Pilot Knob STEM Magnet School in Minneapolis. During the tours, participants noted both the “Wows” and the “Wondered About” aspects of each school’s program.
Among the reported “WOWs” were such things as incorporating technology into all areas of instruction, displaying student work throughout the school, providing hands-on learning opportunities in science and math, maintaining compost and recycling programs, locating signage all over that “screams the theme” of the school, an obvious sense of pride in the school, the opportunity for students to explore engineering lessons through an integrated enrichment time built into the school day.
Some of the aspects that tour participants “wondered about” included: How the building technology integrationist supports teachers? How the schools fund full time specialists, technology support, and a magnet coordinator? How the magnet school vision is funded? How community partnerships are developed and maintained?
All of these questions will be addressed as part of the transition process at Johnson. The focus will continue to be on identifying innovative ways to enhance teaching and learning and continue to help all students succeed at high levels in the new Johnson STEAM Academy.