Clearfield SD to Create STEM Classroom

CLEARFIELD – The technology curriculum is being bolstered at the Clearfield Area Junior-Senior High School and will now incorporate a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) class.

On Monday night, the school board approved for the administration to proceed with the purchase and implementation of a STEM classroom through Creative Learning Solutions.

Superintendent Terry Struble said plans are to create a mandated class to introduce ninth-graders to STEM-related components, such as computer programming and coding, robotics, circuitry, etc.

The goal, he said, is to “wet the students’ appetites” and hopefully generate enough interest to grow the STEM curriculum with more advanced classes to offer as electives.

He said this introductory class is currently designed to run four periods per day each semester, and will likely be taught by an incoming technology education teacher.

The initial cost is $273,000, Struble said, adding it will be partly covered by unspent 2018-19 funds designated for curriculum revisions, textbooks and supplies.

The balance will come out of the 2019-20 budget; however, he said the administration is seeking grants to help cover current and any future costs in the event the curriculum experiences growth.

The addition of Creative Solutions’ STEM program could also open doors for a video production program, which Struble said the school had in the years prior to the renovation.

“We have a great journalism program,” he said, noting there isn’t any longer a broadcast equivalent while news is now a “blend” of print and video.

“This would be another opportunity for growth. It’d allow our students to create, edit and produce video, and do remote broadcasts from just about anywhere …”

Struble said he’s already started to kick around ideas with Rob Swales, chief executive officer of Clearly Ahead Development, about how the STEM class could collaborate with local businesses.

Also, on Monday night, the board tabled action on creating an extended services classroom, also known as “Stepping Stones,” at the Clearfield Area Elementary School.

Struble said the purpose of the classroom is to intervene with the needs of K-2 students who aren’t able to succeed in general population due to lacking social or behavioral skills.

He noted it would be comprised of students who aren’t being serviced by an Individualized Education Program (IEP). However, it wouldn’t exclude these students if it would be appropriate.

Struble said the intention is to help these students become successful before more intensive intervention services become identified and necessary.

He said the classroom would be staffed with a teacher, behavioral specialist and one or two assistants (based upon class size and need).

Board member Dr. Michael Spencer suggested the board hold off on its decision, so that input could be given by the new elementary school principal when he/she is hired.

Struble then requested the board to leave the funds, totaling $150,000, for the classroom in the budget, which it did when it voted to table action until a later date.

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