Duval County is Growing in STEAM/STEM and Why Parents Should Care
By William Jackson, M.Edu
The recent School Choice Expo
with Duval County Public Schools shows the
diversity of educational initiatives that influence
the direction of students not just academically,
but being prepared in choosing career paths
as students transition through the educational
The world is dynamically changing, the incorporation
of technology will not stop, in fact it is increasing, and
integration of technology is changing how students will
learn and function in the world. Educational initiatives
are used to train children for the future is ever progressing
and creating a transformative paradigm shift in how
teachers teach even the basic educational foundations.
The change has been made from teacher centered learning
to student centered learning that involves hands on learning
opportunities and access to technology that does not replace
educators, but is used as a supplement.
Children must be prepared for careers that are not available
now, they must be able to solve complex problems that will
challenge our ability to function in an ever shifting world.
The new term of “Shift Happens” creates a change in the
perception of the transparency and blending of learning
initiatives that affect early learning to high school learning
and the integration of critical thinking, higher order thinking
and building “thought leaders.” If parents don’t think this
learning is important view this YouTube video
The growth and integration of academic elements being
taught in schools across this country have proven beneficial.
High schools in Duval County Public Schools are graduating
more students and students of color and culture. Middle
schools are preparing students for the rigors and academics
of High School as they integrate hands on learning labs.
Because technology has advanced engagement of tools to
be fused into educational initiatives such as:
STEM/STEAM/STREAM/CSTREAM and STEM2, they are
all connected, each has a powerful academic effect.
“The goal is to engage the whole child and foster high
achievement in all areas,” as defined by STE[+a]M, which
is a website created to share information about the blending
of arts and sciences. The past errors in thinking were
each of these elements were separate and unequal. The
new thinking is that STEAM/STEM creates a curriculum
that embraces all elements which allow students to hone
their personal skills and advance in areas that are new
What is STEM
The School Choice Expo displayed a new way of thinking,
grounded in research and inspiring creativity and innovation
that helps students to learn. The artistic development and
the scientific techniques are complimentary when integrating
elements of STEAM, STEM, STREAM and others.
The blending of these skills requires students to engage in
creative, critical and higher order thinking that supports
collaborative and cooperative learning. Learning that pushes
and challenges, and brings about success that is transferable
in advanced areas of application.
Parents cannot afford to wait for school to start in Pre-K or
Kindergarten, they are placing their children in serious
jeopardy in starting behind others that have pre-learning.
Parents must be the first educators, teaching reading, literacy
and laying a foundation for comprehension.
Many careers are now influenced from STEM curriculum’s,
educators, artists, scientists and those in technology recognize
the importance of blending the arts and sciences and believe
that this will lead to richer student learning. STEAM is
complimentary with 21st artistic, scientific and technological
century skills. There is much more than just videos and
computer game instruction, the student must be the center of
learning and involve the “4 Cs”:
Creativity, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, and Communication.
Aligned also is reading, literacy and comprehension, if students
cannot read and comprehend they will still struggle and learning
gaps will still be a challenge for teachers, schools and school
Duval County Public Schools are ahead in educational reforms
that provides dynamic educational experiences for children from
early learning to graduating seniors. Parents are encouraged to
keep their children involved in the learning process by taking their
children to libraries, museums and community events. Parents
can participate in Parent Academy’s that aid in being better
educators at home. Using resources available as reading series
that are making a difference in literacy: the Cornbread
Series by Vincent Taylor http://www.vincenttaylor.net/,
schools like Venetia Elementary are becoming Magnet Schools
focusing on being a STEM2 or STEMsquared that integrates
medical science and math starting in Fall 2016.
The School Choice Expo shows that even inner city schools:
William Raines, Jean Ribault, Andrew Jackson, First Coast High
just to name a few are exposing students to aviation, space
science, academics that embrace innovation and creativity.
STEM, STEAM, STREAM,CSTREAM, STEM2
Ask a Raines, Ribault or Jackson High School student about
these educational initiatives and watch their eyes light up
because they know their academic and career opportunities
They are important to the building of Jacksonville as well.
Jacksonville will only be as strong economically as the level of
its diverse student body that are still challenged with poverty
and learning gaps. These gaps create students that are either
unemployable or under-employed. DCPS as it faces and
overcomes these challenges will increase the need for
“Human Capital” as entrepreneurial opportunities grow.
“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow
belongs to those who prepare for it today.” Malcolm X
School Choice Expo with Venetia Elementary Principal
School Choice Information
How To Apply for Schools
Medical Arts Program for Elementary incorporating STEM