STEAM at WHS
Look no further to find a vibrant school of exceptional learning than Winterboro High School! In 2009 the thoughts were of demolishing a failing school and antiquated building with a rock facade. Winterboro High School has become a rock solid model of teaching, learning, and collaboration for other schools to visit, study, and replicate. The once failing school in an impoverished (rural) community, is now a beacon of educational opportunity. Project-Based Learning, known as PBL, has become a firmly established learning standard that continually transforms shy, unengaged students, into active community leaders armed with Essential Skills to be College and Career Ready. From a graduation rate of 61% in the 2008-2009, to a graduation rate of 95% in the 2015-2016 school year, the longevity of what naysayers call an initiative, is truly a way of life. As a result of the graduating rate increases, over the past seven years the school’s poverty rate has decreased by 6%. What more can Winterboro do to impact, not only their community, but education in the state of Alabama?
Meet STEAM, Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics. STEAM marries perfectly with PBL and truly breathes new life into the PBL framework as it allows students to deepen their depth of learning by providing students with new, cutting edge outlets for their creativity. Through the embedding of STEAM, students are able to bring their projects to life through the integration of elements such as CAD Design, 3D printing, and 3D image capturing, all while employing the the Engineering Design Process. Through its STEAM and PBL integration, Winterboro High School is a step above the average school, particularly for a small, rural, high poverty one. If you can think it, the students at Winterboro High School can investigate, invent, and create it. Armed with a growth mindset, students do not say no, but rather rise to the challenge as they explore HOW can they make something happen.
Winterboro High School continues annually to enhance the learning experiences for students making it a school for other schools to model. The marriage of PBL and STEAM make an exceptional model for teachers to following. The depth of learning coupled with real world, tangle examples, are what make learning at Winterboro High School, not only engaging, but rigorous and relevant. Winterboro students have also become empowered thinkers and lifelong learners as a result of Project Based Learning and the marriage of STEAM.
Over the past several years, we have redesigned our classrooms by removing all desks and replacing them with tables in order to facilitate collaborative learning. In addition, Grades 5-12 are 1 to 1 with all students having their own laptop device which can be taken home. Access points and Interactive Boards are located in every classroom. Most importantly, the pedagogy has been adapted to promote STEAM concepts, the Engineering Design Process, and practices with an emphasis on Student Centered Learning. This approach has led to numerous opportunities for our students.