Departments & Programs

RCIS is a STEAM Innovation School.

STEAM stands for: Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts,and Math. 
STEAM Integration through project-based Learning: The groundwork of a STEAM-enhanced curriculum is to utilize project-based and service learning, integrate community resources, with a central focus to promote inquiry, collaboration, and emphasize creative and critical thinking. The ability for students to make cross-disciplinary connections is at the core of our vision. STEAM enhanced curriculum instructional strategies will be aligned with, and support, mastery of grade level standards in the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks through deeper engagement within all subject areas. A project-based learning approach will be utilized to foster independence, a love of learning, and student engagement.

STEAM Integration through Project-Based/Service Learning

Project-Based learning and service-based learning will allow students to make connections between and across disciplines. This will lead to strengthened student proficiency with STEAM enhanced curriculum. Instructional strategies will be aligned with, and support, student proficiency in the MA Curriculum Frameworks through deeper engagement with all subject areas. The outline of the project-based learning curricula will be created throughout the summer by staff who will unpack the common core standards and the pedagogy of project-based learning.

A STEAM enhanced curriculum will be integrated throughout the entire expanded learning day. Students will be able to engage with hands-on curriculum aided by the newly created Makerspace in the school. Through the guidance of a STEM Integration Specialist (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) teachers and students will be able to go to the Makerspace to explore the different uses of technology and engineering through their core curricula (math, science, social studies, and ELA). Teachers will also work closely with our school’s arts and music integration teachers to tie artistic themes throughout all areas of the curriculum.

● Expanded learning time will increase the amount of time our students receive instruction. They will be able to engage in new learning opportunities that would be limited in an average school day. This expanded time will allow our students sufficient time engaging in our Makerspace. It will also provide them with the time needed to engage with our newly developed project-based and service-based learning curricula.

● Project-based learning is the act of learning through identifying real world problems and developing solutions. Through project-based learning students will be encouraged to seek out real world problems in their own community; this will allow them to actively learn about the community around them. Students will focus on solving a real-world problem through multiple subjects throughout their day. Project-based learning naturally encourages students to integrate thinking from many different subject areas, which coincides with STEAM principles. While students are actively working on solving problems within the school through project-based learning, we will also teach our students to take action. Students will learn the importance of making a positive change in their community through service-learning.

● Shifting our focus to a STEAM enhanced curriculum will allow students to begin creatively thinking about science and mathematics. Science and mathematics are cornerstones of engineering and technology. Science takes a significant amount of time during a school day, that is not always fulfilled in many schools. Switching our school’s focus to a STEAM curriculum will allow students to engage more often with scientific concepts. Science teaches students how to problem solve so they can apply science to many areas of life in and out of school. Science also teaches them about the world around them. Being able to focus on science more during our school day will allow students the opportunity to broaden their schema of the world around them, and supplement what they are learning in the outside world.

● Using technology and engineering calls for children to activate prior knowledge about math and science to perform a task. With engineering built into our students’ schedule, students will enhance their learning in these areas. Engineering encourages students to work collaboratively. They will practice their communication skills as well as engage in critical thinking. The skills students will learn in technology and engineering will help them to prepare for a future in an ever increasing technical field. With engineering a part of our students elementary experience, they will become aware of the diverse opportunities for engineering, science, and technical careers.

● An arts enriched curriculum encourages students to think creatively in all subjects. Like engineering, it encourages students to think in unique and different ways to solve problems. The arts also help to make content more accessible for all children. Given the high percentage of ELs in the school community, a curriculum that encourages students to visually express themselves is extremely beneficial to students working to master the English language. An arts based curriculum is also highly engaging and encourages active learning. By continuing to integrate the arts into our curriculum students will stay engaged, and sharpen their creative and critical thinking skills.

● A Makerspace is a place where students can collaboratively construct new ideas and engage with 21st century resources. In this space they will explore and discover new ways to solve problems and create new things. A schoolwide integrated Makerspace will be the hub of RCIS’s STEAM enhanced learning experiences. In this space, our STE teacher and classroom teachers will be able to bring students in to learn how to use the technology we provide. This will also be a space where large portions of students’ project-based learning will take place with the aid of our STE teacher.