ASTEM

 

WHAT IS THE ACADEMY OF STEM?

The Academy of Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM), one of five academies at GRPS’s Innovation Central High School (ICHS), is a program designed to instill into students the knowledge, skills, curiosity, and excitement to propel them into STEM-related professions and careers after high school, whether they major in one of these fields in college or enter the workforce right after graduation.

 

CURRICULUM & COURSES

The Academy of Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) program has two tracks of classes; the engineering track and the biomedical track. The engineering classes are Introduction to Engineering, Principles of Engineering, and Civil Engineering and Architecture. The biomedical classes are Principles of Biomedical Science, Human Body Systems, and Medical Interventions. We also offer an AP Computer Science Principles class that aligns directly with the engineering classes. Courses utilize the Project Lead the Way (PLTW) curriculum, which is a series of nationally-recognized classes that build upon each other as students move from 9th grade through 12th, offering high quality lessons and project-based, hands-on learning.

 

RESOURCES & MATERIALS

Students are able to access a wide range of high-tech equipment and resources in STEM classes. Students in engineering classes utilize Autodesk Revit and Autodesk Inventor software on laptop and desktop computers to construct projects that can be sent to one of five 3D printers. Students in biomedical classes become proficient in gel electrophoresis by analyzing DNA and using Vernier data collection tools and software. They also can design and 3D print medical devices in the medical intervention class. All students have access to a CNC mill, a metal lathe, and a laser engraver- all state-of-the-art equipment- to give students cutting edge training which will enable them to step right into the workforce or will support their learning in college. Students also utilize VEX Robotics components to make a variety of solar-powered and hydrogen fuel cell mechanical machines and robotics in the engineering classes.

 

FIELD TRIPS

Students take many field trips a year to job sites, college and university campuses, competitions, seminars, exhibitions, and more. We intentionally get students out of the school so they can see and experience these places and events first-hand; picture themselves working in these positions; and, eventually pursue a career or profession in one of our academy areas. We know that the impact of the experiences students receive are well worth the time and effort dedicated to arranging them. Examples of field trips students have taken include: Robotics competitions in Jenison and Grandville, MSU Design Day Competition, FIRST Robotics competitions in Escanaba and East Kentwood, Climate Change Conference, Discover Manufacturing Week, MI Career Quest, Michigan Energy Summit, Roger That! Conference, Pillar Awards Luncheon, monthly Econ Club luncheons, Kent County municipal services, and more.

 

VEX ROBOTICS AND FIRST ROBOTICS TEAMS

The Academy of Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) program features an after school VEX Robotics Team, utilizing the VEX equipment to design and build robots to participate in several competitions each year. FIRST Robotics also runs their team from the Innovation Central campus and students can join one or both teams. These students work with teammates to take part in building, programming, and operation of the robots in preparation for these spirited competitions.

 

MENTOR PROGRAM

All Innovation Central High School Academies - including the Academy of Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) - have a Mentor Program that consists of structured, monthly, hour-long sessions designed to connect students with Grand Rapids area professionals from each student's specific academy area. These conversations inform our students about real-world jobs, possible career paths, work sites, required or necessary education, and more; providing students with guidance, support, encouragement, and a realistic view of what careers and professions await them, as well as how they can get there. Over 100 area professionals come into Innovation Central High School monthly to meet in a 1:3 ratio with students. Each mentor session includes a planned activity and talking points to help guide the discussion between the mentors and mentees. It is a very unique and highly successful program.

 

ADVISORY BOARD

Each of the five Innovation Central High School academies has an Advisory Board whose main goal is to find ways best support the Academy. The Advisory Board help administrators and teachers analyze the curriculum, the classes, the materials used, and the instruction methods to keep all of these elements relevant to current industry standards. Advisory Boards analyze and help teachers target what students need to be successful as professionals after graduation, whether the students head off to colleges and universities after high school or whether they head into the workforce in one of our academy-specific areas. The Advisory Boards help recruit guest speakers and arrange field trips to job sites and workplaces so that students can experience these places first-hand and be able to picture themselves in these settings as adults. Advisory Board members also help with fundraising efforts that support student scholarships and the purchase of additional resources. The input and assistance from these Advisory Boards has been instrumental in pushing the Innovation Central High School academies forward, and in keeping the instruction that students receive relevant and current.

 

An application is required for the Academy of Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math. Apply today at apply.grps.org.