STEAM

Middle School of Choice

Frequently Asked Questions

Applications

If you are admitted year one, do you have to go back into the lottery for subsequent academic periods?

Once a student is admitted, they are in until the end of 8th grade.

 What is your selection process for the “lottery” system? Demographics? Grades? Special Needs? What are ALL the parameters?

The lottery process is open to all students with no special circumstances.

 Are there any admission criteria other than lottery? (Academics, Work Ethic, Behavioral History).

There are no pre-determined criteria for admission.

 How much parent support will be required of parents @ STEAM?

Parents at the STEAM school will be participating partners. Parents will be encouraged to: monitor their student’s assignments, grades, and attendance; attend evening activities; stay up to date on school communications.

 If a student going into 6th grade gets into the school, will they have a spot in 7th and 8th guaranteed?

The student selection process was chosen in part to not pull the “smartest” kids from the campuses. Yes. Students who are admitted will retain their spot at the STEAM school in subsequent years. The open lottery process is in place to provide opportunities for all students.

 To be accepted, is it based on grades, STAAR, assessment, a disability (if any), Special Ed, or 504?

There are no pre-determined criteria for admission.

 What happens if 500 students don’t sign up?  How will it assist the other 2 middle schools?  

Over 600 students have applied to attend the STEAM school.

 What if my child has a 504/ARD with accommodations?

The STEAM school will provide supports that will ensure that students with 504 Accommodation Plans and Individualized Education Plans are able to be successful.

 What is the placement for lottery selection?

The lottery process is open to all.

 I understand with Academy doing it as a lottery.  However, in middle school these kids have a history in the district.  Why are grades and discipline not being used as criteria?

We want all students in BISD to have the opportunity to attend the STEAM school.

Wouldn’t this be a cleaner transition if you started with incoming 6th graders only?  Seems like a lot of change for incoming 7th and 8th that have already established a home school.  

Our goal is to provide immediate relief for our middle schools. Opening 6th grade only would not allow us to accomplish this task.

 I liken the STEAM school with Nola Dunn exclusive and largely unattainable.  Every parent and student is going to want this. You make it sound like you’re going to be limited by your student body. Space is going to be your limitation, not students, therein lays my frustration. I’ve tried for years to get my kids into Academy. I’m going to try this too. But this family is getting frustrated by the lack of opportunity to take part in the progressive learning environments offered at BISD.  If these programs are so good; if you are so excited about them, then why isn’t every classroom in the district structured like STEAM or Academy?  

The STEAM school is just the beginning of where BISD is headed in creating schools of choice.  It will have an open lottery which gives all students the opportunity to be admitted.

 What will the class sizes be?

Our student to teacher ratio will be 23:1.

 If student selection is based completely on lottery not learning style (not talking about grades or scores but learning styles) how will we ensure rigor and learning opportunities that differ from any other classroom that struggles to bring along students whose learning style doesn’t fit?

We will ensure rigor through differentiating and integrating lessons for each student in the class.

 If you apply and are accepted can you change your mind and return to your home school?

Yes. If a student decides not to attend the STEAM school they can return to their zoned campus. At which point, the next student on the waitlist will be admitted.

 SPED? Asperger/ASD?  

All students are welcome to apply.  

 Are families of a STEAM student required to have volunteer hours like the Academy? 

Parents at the STEAM school will be partners in their child’s education.

 If you decided that the school is not for you, can you transfer or if the school doesn’t think it is for the child will they be moved?

Students will have the ability to request a transfer to go back to their zoned campus.  Once a student is admitted to the STEAM school, they will not be moved.

What is the difference of a STEAM student and Hughes or Kerr student?

A STEAM student is one who enjoys hands on learning and is interested in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math.

 With the estimated 250 students per zone…does that mean approximately 83 students will be admitted per grade level?

Until the lottery is complete we will not have numbers as to how many from each zone will attend STEAM.

 Once your child is selected will they get to attend the remainder of their middle school years or is it a new drawing every year?  How does that affect the high school credits?  If you only get one year as 8th grader, do they still get the high school credits?

Once a child in, they are in for the remainder of their middle school career.  This does not have any impact on High School credits.  In 2015-2016, all BISD 8th graders will have the opportunity to earn High School credits.

 How much will the school cost?

There is no cost (outside of potential art or lab fees) to families.

 Is STEAM a private school?

The STEAM school is a school of choice.  It is not a private school.

 What if we work for the District but live outside of Burleson and choose to send your kids to BISD are they eligible for lottery?

BISD staff member’s children are eligible for the lottery.  

 Why are you not doing an aptitude admittance as opposed to the lottery system?

We want to provide choice for all students in BISD.

 Will parents also receive a letter notifying them if their student was not selected for the STEAM school?

Yes. Letters will go out in May.

 What’s the enrollment cap?

500 students.

 How will you ensure diversity when it comes to utilizing the lottery system for enrollment?

Our goal is that the random lottery will reflect the demographics of the BISD community.

Will a child who gets “picked” with bad grades get to stay in through the entire time thus denying a brilliant child who was not “picked” and opportunity to further his education in the STEAM school because he was “fairly” denied at the beginning? Is there a performance criteria to continue? so the brilliant kids can get in?

We want to provide choice for all students in BISD.

 The kids who have worked hard from the get go will have the same chance as the kid who has proven to not demonstrate the will or know how to keep at a proper level of performance is there. My concern is this……the bright kids have more to lose if not picked early on for future chances.  

At the STEAM school, we want to ignite a passion for learning in all of our students.  Our goal is for STEAM to be a source of motivation for all students.

 Attendance – How many days are allowed?

The attendance requirement is the same as all schools in BISD.

 Will the school day be longer?

The school day will be consistent with the other middle schools.

 If my child does not get in this year will there be a lottery next year? How will it work?

Yes. There will be a new lottery every year for the open spots at each grade level.

 How was the decision made to admit kids to STEAM by lottery, rather than base it on academic ability? If most of the classes/programs are advanced, wouldn’t it make more sense to allow students that already do well in these classes to take advantage of them? Rather than put students that may struggle in classes that are over their head?

The decision to open the lottery up for all students in the district was made by district leadership in conjunction with the school board.  We believe that all students can learn if given the opportunity to thrive in an environment of support.

Curriculum

Is this considered an accelerated learning environment or simply an alternative learning environment?

The STEAM middle school will offer an alternative learning environment with acceleration in the area of Math.  

What will a day look like time wise, schedule wise, and elective wise?   

The STEAM school will have a seven period day with shuttles after second period, fifth period, and sixth period.

What are the art classes that will be provided at the STEAM school?  

The STEAM middle school will offer Art through a STEAM lens.

What does assessment look like? Whole group or individual?

Students will be assessed through groups and individually.

Are we still going to have our required classes including reading, history, science and math?  

Yes, the core classes will be provided at STEAM.

Will there be Pre-AP classes available at STEAM?

There will be some Pre-AP classes available at the STEAM middle school.

What kind of assistance will be provided for struggling students?

The STEAM middle school will provide assistance to struggling students through the Response to Intervention (RtI) process.

What type of engineering classes will be available? For example aerospace, mechanical or computer engineering. Will there be robotics?

Engineering will be supported through the Gateway to Technology parts 1-4.

Will there be programming and computer science opportunities?  

The STEAM middle school will offer computer science and programming through Gateway to Technology and student clubs.

How will the curriculum differ from what is taught at Hughes and Kerr besides adding the Chromebook technology in the classroom?  

The STEAM middle school will offer the state and district curriculum.  Instruction will be centered around problem-based learning and the engineering design process.

Will we be able to work on projects in intervention time?

There will be time available for students to work on projects during our flex time.

Will there be GT classes?

The STEAM middle school will provide gifted and talented instruction through the Pre-AP program.

Will ESL and Sp. Ed. be included?

Yes.

Since each student will have their own Chromebook….does that mean (if they take them home) they will have more lessons taught or classes that will require more homework?

The digital learning environment will not create more homework for students.

Will you have a library?

The STEAM middle school will have a library of resources available to them.

How is STAAR testing affected?

STAAR testing will not be affected. All assessments required by the state will be given.

Is the idea for my child who wants to go into the medical field to be advanced in math/science?

The STEAM middle school is a great option for a child interested in the medical field.

If a student struggles with math will they struggle @ STEAM?

There will be built in supports for students who struggle.

Does the most advanced math track allow students to enter Algebra I as 9th graders, or Geometry?

The most advanced track for Math will prepare students for Algebra II.

Will learning disabilities like dyslexia be accommodated?

Yes.

If our child is already struggling academically is he a good candidate for STEAM or could it be too challenging?

STEAM is great for all students who want  a different educational experience.

Will there be consequences for failing classes – such as moving to another middle school?

No. Once students are admitted to the STEAM middle school they will stay.  Students failing classes will be offered intervention opportunities.

What is the highest math level that students will be prepared to take in 9th grade after leaving the STEAM school in 8th grade?

Depending on the student, Geometry or Algebra II would the highest level of Math that STEAM students would be ready to take.

Dress Code

Do we have to wear uniforms?  

There will be standardized dress consistent with the middle schools in BISD.

Is it worth changing schools for just one year before going to high school?   

The STEAM school will provide enriched learning experience for students at all grade levels.  

What is the mascot?   

A mascot will be decided upon at a later date.

How will you with standard dress including school spirit keep good rivalry and competition at a normal level?   

The STEAM school will support the vision of excellence set by the BISD community for all campuses.

Electives/ Clubs

How will before school activities work for Hughes and Kerr? And After school?   

Students who participate in extracurricular activities will be scheduled for these classes either at the beginning of the day or the end of day.  Athletics, band, and choir will be offered at the beginning and end of the day at each campus.  

What about clubs tennis club, friends of Rachel, MAD club? Can they still participate in these activities?

Yes. Student choice will drive the clubs at the STEAM school.

Will there be a band program?  

Yes, band will be offered at zoned campus and can be taken in conjunction with other UIL programs.  

How will this work with athletics?

Students can participate in athletics in their zoned campus.  

Will there be competition with other districts?

Robotics, Transformers, Multi-use products. Focus on Content. It’s what is on the inside. Yes.  Student choice will drive the clubs at the STEAM school.

Will there be PE?

Yes. We will offer PE at the STEAM campus as well as the other middle schools.

For students not going to the new school – what happens to the existing fine arts programs (particularly band)? Will there be 3 band classes (honors, symphonic and concert)?

The existing Fine Arts programs will continue as usual.  There will be 3 Band classes offered to non-STEAM students.

Can a 7th grader be in band and athletics or just one?

Yes. Students can participate in both band and athletics.

Facility

How will you prep an old school to be ready for the high tech needed?

We have a plan which will update the technology infrastructure.

The facilities were redesigned for daycare (example: small toilets etc.) How much is the redesign going to cost? Will it include new bathrooms?

The restrooms will be fit with the appropriate sized toilets for middle school aged students.  We are committed to keeping renovation costs as low as possible.

Will all these facility modifications be ready when school starts?

It is our goal to have phase one of the process completed by the time school starts.

With the remodeling of the school it seems like a costly endeavor. Are we also putting in money to improve fundamental shortcomings at current middle schools?

Our goal is to address the needs of other campuses in the process of opening the STEAM school.  In fact, both Hughes and Kerr are making plans to offer exciting programs on their campuses.

High School

What will high school classes look like for those coming from STEAM?

Students will have the opportunity to enter the STEM pathway.

What high school will STEAM students transfer to?

STEAM students will go to their zoned High School.

Will there be a choice of high school based on area of study?

The High Schools offer differentiated areas of study based on the High School pathways.

How will STEAM classes carry into BHS and CHS integration?

The STEAM middle school will align with the High School Pathways.

What are the high school credit opportunities?

Algebra I, Gateway to Technology, Principles of A/V Tech Communications, and Spanish will be offered as High School credit classes.

What are the plans for 9th grade supporting STEAM learning? Is a STEAM high school proposed?

The High Schools will support the STEAM middle school through their STEM Pathway.

For those entering in 8th grade can you complete enough time in the curriculum to earn the additional HS credit? What about avenues to continue this learning format into high school?

Students entering 8th grade for the 2015-2016 school year will have the opportunity to gain High School credit in Gateway to Technology, Principles of A/V Tech Communications, and Spanish.  These electives offer students exposure to the High School Pathways in the areas of STEM and Business and Industry.

Siblings, Future Siblings, Twins, and Blended Families

If one of my children gets accepted to STEAM, can all my children go?

At this time there will not be any special circumstances outside of the open lottery process.  For example: If a family has an 8th grader that is accepted to the STEAM school and a 6th grader who is not accepted, the 6th grader will go to their zoned campus.

Staffing

Are we pulling teachers from other districts or are we utilizing BISD teachers? If so, should parents be concerned about the skills sets of the non-chosen teachers?

We’ve seen this happen before.  Our goal is to build the best staff possible for the STEAM school.  Some of the STEAM school teachers will be from outside the district and some from within BISD. The skill sets of all BISD staff are continuously improving.

Are the teachers at STEAM dedicated to that school or will they share teachers between other middle schools?

Teachers will be dedicated to the STEAM school. However, there may be circumstances in which the STEAM school may share a teacher with another school. ie: PE depending on the number of students accepted.

How do you get the teachers to get on board? Older teachers have different (older) ideas?

Building a sound culture is key to opening a new campus.  At STEAM, we plan to build culture through inclusion.  Our staff will have a voice.

Will the teaching staff be experienced in the STEAM environment?

We will train all STEAM teachers in problem-based learning and the engineering design process.

Have the teachers already been selected? How were they chosen?

Teachers have not been selected for the STEAM campus.  Teachers who are selected to teach at the STEAM school will go through a comprehensive interview process.

What about teachers? Will this campus pull the “best” teachers from the 2 MS campuses?

No. The STEAM school will not pull the “best” teachers from the other 2 middle schools. The STEAM school will select teachers who best fit our vision for the school.

Are support services available (para)? What is emphasis on supports?

The STEAM school will be staffed consistent with our other schools of similar size.

Will the new STEAM middle school staff be comprised of current educators within the district who have received “training” or will veteran STEAMers be used to fill the ranks? 

This is our goal.  

Is STEAM creating new jobs for our district? Are the teachers within our district?  

Yes.  The STEAM school will create new jobs in BISD and we will also staff from within.

Will the school be staffed on its own or will they share staff with Hughes and Kerr?

The STEAM school will be staffed on its own.

Technology

Is Google Chrome going to be allowed to be used in School?

Yes. Google Chrome works well in our Google Apps for Education environment.

What protections for a student privacy from Google are being taken?

https://www.google.com/edu/trust/#

https://support.google.com/a/answer/139019?hl=en

https://support.google.com/work/answer/6056650

Is all the work gonna be on computers or on notebook paper?  

In addition to providing a digital learning environment we will support the use of pen and paper.

Transportation

What about safety?

All students will be supervised.

Are there enough buses to transport?  

Yes, there will be enough buses to provide shuttles.

Will buses be provided too from choir, band, and athletics?

Yes, but it will depend on where choir is listed in their schedule.   

In regards to parents that drop off their students in the morning, if student is in athletics, would he/she be dropped off at Kerr MS or STEAM in the morning?

They will be dropped off at their zoned campus.  

Is it possible that a student will be transported twice during the day?   

Our goal is to have students make one trip per day.  

Will there be costs associated with transportation?  

Transportation will be provided at no cost to students.

Will students be bused home from STEAM or return to home campus for bus home?  

Students will be transported home based on where they end the day.

Miscellaneous

Will you offer Spanish as elective?

Yes.

After school activities such as tennis will be had where?

All after school sports activities will take place at the zoned middle school.

How many basic classes/electives are given?

Math, Science, English Language Arts, and Social Studies are the core courses that will be offered.  Gateway to Technology, Principles of A/V Tech Communications, Spanish, Career Portals, and Colleges & Careers are some of the Elective offerings.

Will Hughes and Kerr eventually have the same expectations and standards as the STEAM School?

All middle schools in BISD have the same standards and expectations.

What will Hughes and Kerr do to be competitive with STEAM? (For students who applied and were not selected to attend).

The principals at Kerr and Hughes are working with our Chief Academic Innovation Officer to develop program which will support their campuses.

How long has this program been in the works? From the outside looking in it seems that this has been rushed?  

The STEAM school has been in the works for some time.  Its serves the purpose of bringing innovation to our schools and provides relief for the other middle schools.

If school will support 500 students, why aren’t other middle schools being equipped with tools available (i.e. Google Classroom and Technology)?  

Several of our campuses have Chromebooks which they use for classroom instruction.  The STEAM school is just the beginning of our technology points of emphasis.

Why can’t you support use of 1:1 at EVERY middle school if the parent purchases the digital device?  

We are working to build the infrastructure to support 1:1 districtwide.