STEAM Program Update

STEAM Program Update
STEAM Logo

The mission of Discovery Elementary School is “to be an equitable learning community which excels by building relationships, emphasizing a variety of disciplines, and encouraging perseverance, curiosity, creativity and critical thinking.” One of the ways we ensure our students experience a variety of discipline and engage in the skills of perseverance, curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking is through our STEAM program. STEAM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics. Discovery prides itself on providing our students with a  STEAM education. The Discovery STEAM program includes an Art Docent Program, Music Program, Makerspace, and Innovation Lab. A STEAM education in elementary school provides students with 21st century skills that will enable them to be global citizens.


Unfortunately, due to the impacts of the pandemic on school events and fundraising many of our STEAM programs we provide to Discovery students are at risk for next school year. Please review the information below or watch the STEAM The Power of Discovery Community Video for more details regarding the Discovery STEAM program, the impact of COVID-19 on the STEAM program, and ways our community can help ensure we continue to provide a high quality STEAM education to our students. 



STEAM Program


Art Docent Program

The Art Docent Program is a parent volunteer program started in August 2014 by Carrie and Caroline Geldard. The supplies for the Art Room are provided through a combination of the school budget and PTO fundraising. Art docents were provided with training and art lessons for their instruction. Students at Discovery receive a minimum of one Art Docent led art lesson a month in the Art Room.


Music Program

In August 2017, San Marcos Unified School District provided each elementary school with a full-time elementary music teacher. Having a full-time music teacher provided Discovery with an opportunity to enhance our visual and performing arts program on campus with weekly music instruction for all students and develop our Discovery Singers (choir) program. Discovery students display their visual and performing arts through community events such as Winter Music Performances, the 4th grade Gold Rush or Bust play, the 5th grade American Revolution play, and our Arts on the Green performances.


Makerspace & Innovation Lab

Discovery opened a Makerspace in 2016 with community donated supplies. Teachers were able to take their classes into the Makerspace and engage in entry level STEAM based activities together. In August 2017, an Innovation Specialist was hired to provide classes with weekly STEAM instruction and lessons. The same school year, the builders of Rancho Tesoro, Brookfield Residential, and California West Communities, made a significant donation to the Discovery STEAM program. Some things included in this donation were: BeeBots, Dash & Dot Robots, Sphero Robots, 3D Printers, flexible seating and furniture, and the salary for the Innovation Specialist. This large donation of technology and robotics enabled Discovery to open an Innovation Lab in August 2018. 


The Discovery Innovation Specialist provides students with instruction in both the Makerspace and Innovation Lab. Instruction in the Makerspace focuses on the design thinking process, problem solving, next generation science standards, and engineering. Instruction in the Innovation Lab focuses on coding, technology, and computer science standards. In addition, lessons in the makerspace and Innovation Lab are in alignment with the common core state standards and the English Language Arts Benchmark units being taught in the classrooms. Discovery students display their makerspace and innovation designs through community events such as Caine’s Arcade, STEAM Night, and  Arts on the Green.



Impact of COVID-19


Program Design

Due to COVID-19 safety guidelines, students have been unable to receive STEAM lessons in person. Discovery students receive weekly asynchronous STEAM instruction for music and makerspace or innovation. These lessons are aligned to the grade level standards and curriculum students are engaging with in their classrooms. Students are provided with instruction and activities in order to continue their STEAM education during the pandemic. In addition, the Innovation Specialist has sent home Maker Bags with students to ensure they have materials for some of the Makerspace activities in the lessons.


Funding

School events have been either cancelled or transitioned to a virtual setting due to the pandemic. This has provided limited opportunities for students to display their STEAM learning to the community and to raise money to further their STEAM education. 


The Discovery PTO fundraising for the STEAM program has been significantly impacted due to the limited school events in conjunction with the financial impact of the pandemic on many families. In an average year, the Discovery PTO raises around $150,000. This money is used for Discovery’s STEAM education, student academic enrichment programs, student clubs, and many other things that make Discovery an amazing school! This year the Discovery PTO has only raised around 25% of an average fundraising year.  The significant decrease in fundraising means that many of our STEAM programs are at risk for next school year.



Ways to Help


Upcoming Fundraisers

Money raised from Discovery fundraisers directly supports the STEAM programs at Discovery. Participating in the remaining school fundraisers will contribute to our efforts to continue to provide this exceptional educational experience for our students. We also have two large fundraisers remaining this school year: a virtual Jog-A-Thon through APEX and our virtual Arts on the Green. 


Discovery’s 6th Annual “Arts on the Green” Festival will be held virtually on Friday, May 21. This event includes an art gallery, music performances, student-led makerspace activities, and a silent auction. Please reach out to anyone you may know of that is willing and able to donate goods or services to our silent auction. Please feel free to provide them with the Arts on the Green Donation Letter with further information about the event. All donations, large or small, are greatly appreciated. 


Passive Fundraisers

Passive fundraisers are the easiest way you can support our Discovery’s fundraising efforts. Many businesses provide cash back to Discovery for your shopping, including: Amazon, Ralphs, Vons, Red Robin, and eScrip partners with over 700 retailers. Please refer to the Discovery PTO Passive Fundraising website for more information and directions on how to sign up with these businesses. Also, please tell your friends and family to sign up to support Discovery!


Direct Donations

Families that have the ability to donate or know of others that are interested in donating directly to our STEAM program may do so through a direct donation in the Discovery PTO Direct Donation website. In making a direct donation to the Discovery PTO, 100% of your donation goes directly to Discovery and our efforts to provide STEAM education for students.


Outreach

Our Discovery PTO and some Discovery parents in conjunction with the Discovery Administration and Innovation Specialist are reaching out to obtain grants, sponsorships, or donations from local businesses. All Discovery families are welcome to share information regarding our STEAM program, including the STEAM The Power of Discovery video with your family members, community members, and professional network. Spreading the word about our outstanding STEAM program is the only way to get the necessary funding to continue providing our students with high quality STEAM education. 


Remember that every donation, large or small, as well as contributions in school fundraising events makes a tremendous difference in our ability to ensure Discovery students continue to receive STEAM education. If you have any questions regarding our STEAM program or know someone willing to support our school that has questions please have them reach out to the Discovery Administration or Innovation Specialist, Marla Rosenthal. 


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