March 6 marked the debut of a one-of-a-kind regional charter school that mixes cyber-education with in-person group learning. To its STEM focus (science, technology, engineering and math) it also adds an emphasis on research and the arts. That all adds up to the STREAM Academy, opened by the Allegheny Intermediate Unit for K-12 students starting in the 2012-13 school year.
STREAMers at the high-school level have the choice of six focus areas, called tributaries, which AIU spokesperson Sarah McCluan says will prepare them for future careers in this region. Local business and industry leaders helped formulate the focal areas.
Once called PA Learners Online, the reconceived school was founded by 10 local districts, but kids from any district in the state can attend. The school will have 650 kids when all the spots are filled.
The school’s in-person, “On-Location” days are designed to let students connect and collaborate with each other while completing hands-on activities. They also will let students meet educational or business professionals who can give them a better picture of potential careers. Such days will be held at the STREAM Academy facility, another educational institution or even a business; business internships are part of the school’s curriculum as well.
The tributaries are meant to be career paths that children will explore from the beginning of their enrollment in STREAM but choose to focus on in their last few years. The tributaries are biomedical; engineering; logistics, manufacturing, and construction technologies; architecture, digital media arts and technology; energy, emerging sciences, and math; and finally agriculture, plant and animal science (which will be added by the 2013-14 school year).
“All these tributaries are designed to prepare our students to be productive members of the 21st
-century workforce,” says McCluan.
Explore and apply to the STREAM Academy here
Writer: Marty Levine
Source: Sarah McCluan, Allegheny Intermediate Unit