In all K-12 levels, SANY promotes real-world problem solving and exploration in science and mathematics, with interactive engagement and collaborative problem-solving opportunities, field trips to environmentally friendly locations and science museums, and regular use of technology: computer laboratories, Smartboards, IPADs, one-on-one Chromebooks, internet and apps. As stated in SANY’s mission, our charter schools focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), which provides the necessary foundation for college entrance and careers in technical fields. STEM education is a high national priority because of lack of skilled workers in these fields. Here are some examples of STEM focue: (a) Elementary School: annual science fair, coding, Lego League (Bricks 4 Kids) and greenhouse (b) Middle School: annual science fair, coding, Lego League, MathCounts, Enterprise America with WCNY, SUNY ESF Environmental Challenge, project submission to Build and Bust Bridge Building Contest and CNY STEM Fair, summer science camp at school and SUNY ESF (c) High School: annual science fair, Microsoft certification, coding, robotics, summer science research program, project submissions to CNY STEM fair, ISWEEP, GENIUS Olympiad, STEM and environmental college courses, and attendance to Science Bowl.
We are exploring similar partnerships and programs with the 14 colleges and universities in the Rochester area.
Here is in-depth information regarding some of the STEM programs mentioned above:
SANY Schools Fairs: High school students compete for awards at the school’s two internal academic events: the Science Fair and the Liberal Arts Fair. Each winter, in a two-month process guided by science teachers, high school science students in every science course are required to complete a science project that demonstrates an understanding and application of scientific methods (hypothesis, experiment, and conclusion). Judges from local colleges and institutions (Syracuse University, SUNY Oswego, Most Museum, SUNY ESF, LeMoyne) evaluate student projects as the students present their experimentation process and findings at least three times during the afternoon competition. In addition to gauging each presenter’s fluency and poise, judges determine each project’s worthiness according to its adherence to scientific methods and conceptual inventiveness. Each spring, the same process takes place once again, only this time students create presentations and projects in the areas of social studies, English, art and music. Similarly, collegiate staff and community members are invited to participate in this event as judges. In addition to the school-wide presentations and competitions, students with high-quality projects continue on in regional competitions.
STEM projects: SANY’s STEM projects coordinator, who holds a PhD in chemistry, guides students in STEM-project preparation. At the annual CNY-STEM fair, our schools submit the most STEM projects at all levels and grades. In addition, SANY high school students participate in international Science-project competition—ISWEEP and the GENIUS Olympiad. In both programs, students interact with their peers from several countries and states and share their projects.
Science and Math Camps: Accompanied by teacher-coaches and parent chaperones, students involved in competitive science or math teams attend camps in which they can study more intensively under the supervision of a professor. Students who create projects at this level will compete in regional, national and international competitions.
Science Olympiads: These annual competitions bring together students who have cross-trained in science disciplines in a variety of events, with an emphasis on active, hands-on group participation. They require a well-planned, long-term commitment and training, which instills dedication and discipline. Through commitment, coaching, and practice throughout the year, this apprentice and mentoring program improves the quality of our science education, increases student interest in science, and provides recognition for outstanding achievement in science education to both students and teachers. Participation of many students from minority groups engenders respect and appreciation from the community. Students who participate in Science Olympiads have the opportunity to interact with students from many other schools and learn how to appreciate diversity while competing.
SUNY Oswego Science Immersion Program: Since 2010, SANY high school students have participated in a summer program at SUNY Oswego. They learn science disciplines under the guidance of Oswego professors, in conjunction with their high school teachers, and improve their lab skills. In this way, the Science Immersion Program provides additional professional development benefit for teachers, which in turn positively impacts their students. Through this program, teachers spend four weeks interacting with their students and professors on a more in-depth science research project than normally possible, using equipment and facilities not typically available to high schools. The Science Immersion Program also provides an excellent college-culture experience for students. Students reside on the SUNY Oswego campus for four weeks, eat their meals in the college cafeteria, and get a taste of what college life is like.
Math Competitions: At SANY students from every grade level who are interested in or have a talent for mathematics are encouraged to participate in extensive training to prepare for Math Competitions. Our schools have established a tradition of successful Math Competition Teams. Participation on these teams has given students a new perspective of math for future success. The MathCounts team commits to gathering at school on Saturday mornings to study for approximately 15 consecutive weeks. Because part of the competition includes teamwork, the MathCounts team also attends teambuilding activities and go-karting to strengthen friendships and knowledge of one another’s strengths. SANY has won several regional MathCounts awards over the years.
K-7 Lego Program: SANY offers a Lego curriculum to all its students to enhance problem-solving skills in a context that makes it fun and engaging to learn using Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. It blends STEM knowledge and skills with soft skills such as teamwork, creative thinking, critical thinking, and communication. It also enhances eye-hand coordination, which results in greater gross and fine motor skills, and brain development at an early age.
8-12 Grades Robotics Program: We develop a competitive robotics team and offer in-school, after-school and Saturday robotics instruction and teamwork skills. Participation in the Robotics Program promotes hands-on application of the STEM curriculum, in which problem-solving takes place through students’ emergent engineering skills. Students attend regional and national competitions to gain further knowledge and skills.