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Understanding the bigger lessons in STEM curriculum

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Having been the head of the science department at The Spence School in Manhattan, you can imagine that I pay pretty close … well really close attention to science curriculum. When I was thinking about what I wanted for my kids’ education, this became an important topic. STEM – which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math – is in the news more and more, and I had strong opinions about which approaches would best serve my children as they grew up in an increasingly technological world.

Before joining Breck, I looked at public school programs, private school programs and weighed the options. Through that process I quickly learned that while other schools in the area were focused on memorizing content and standardized testing, Breck was focused on the skills integrated into the STEM curriculum. In particular, Breck believes in helping students understand how the scientific method and great research practices are used in the real world to answer difficult questions. 

The results of Breck’s holistic approach to STEM teaching has led to unparalleled accolades for our students. This year alone, eight students were semifinalists in the Siemens Competition, arguably the most prestigious science research competition in the nation. Breck has had more semifinalists than any other school in the Midwest. And this year, two Breck seniors are the first all-girl team in the history of Minnesota to be named national finalists. 

STEM is just one element in the mix of a great education, but it is inspiring to watch it flourish at Breck, especially knowing how important it will continue to become in the broader world. While I don’t know if my kids will pursue careers in a STEM field, I do know that Breck’s approach will provide the best springboard if they choose to go that route.