2016 Year 9 STEAM Initiative

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Re: A new initiative for Xavier High School

In 2016 we are excited to be able to offer our Year 9 cohort for 2016 the opportunity to engage in a new project that we believe will foster the skills required of 21st Century learners. We are offering an opportunity for our Year 9 students to be involved in a STEAM initiative- this will involve immersing students in Science, Mathematics, Technology, Engineering and Art skills to solve authentic real world problems within a world context. The new elective line will be compulsory for all Year 9 students. Students will be provided with real world problems to solve, using the targeted frameworks and design structures of Science, Maths, Technology, Engineering and Art. It is well recognised by industry in Australia and around the world that the students of today are at risk of not having the appropriate skills in Maths, Science and Technology. STEM initiatives in schools target the use of these skills to enhance student learning and understanding. Why are we including Art? Business experts would tell us that the creative approach to problem solving is a vital skill in today’s modern day workplace.

John Tarnoff, a leading business expert explains, ‘In my experience as an executive and entrepreneur sitting on both sides of the creative/technology fence, I need to hire technologists who know how to collaborate in teams, express themselves coherently, engagingly and persuasively, understand how to take and apply constructive criticism, and how to tell a good story. I don’t find these kids sitting alone at a lab table or buried in an algorithm. I find them taking art classes to understand how color and light really work, I find them in writing classes learning how to express themselves, I find them in cultural studies and critical theory classes learning about the world at large’. (Tarnoff, J, 2015, Recognising the value of creative skills)

The STEAM Initiative for Year 9 students at Xavier in 2016 will culminate in a major project employing skills through the diverse mediums of Science, Maths, Technology, Art and Engineering. We aim to offer our students the opportunity to solve problems creatively, make reasoned and informed judgements in working towards solutions to identified problems as well as being able to identify and employ specific skills to assist in making reasoned decisions in their attempts to solve issues as they are presented. We hope that students have an opportunity to refine their time management and organisational skills as well as hone their abilities to work in a team environment for the purposes of meeting a targeted goal. We believe that this initiative will provide our Year 9 students with an opportunity to think outside the ‘square’ and that it is these skills that will assist them in their longer term pursuits of academic success in their senior years of schooling.

If you have any queries in regards to the STEAM project, please contact me at the school via the office.

Kind Regards

Nicole Morton

Assistant Principal – Teaching and Learning