Mountain Ridge Middle School is one of a very few schools that has a dedicated facilitator for our STEM programs. (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) There is strong and increasing collaboration between our elementary schools and Mountain Vista HS as we provide for a continuum of classes and the transition between the levels.
We have four full computer labs, one Engineering technology lab, and multiple portable labs of laptops on carts. Each academic team has a science lab (or two), and works extensively on integrating technology, critical thinking, and authentic problem solving regularly into lessons. Students have extensive opportunities to engage in activities and current technology as they solve challenging problems.
Our STEM philosophy is much more than just the specific subject areas named. It is a ever changing belief that all learning opportunities should be presented in a relevant, current, engaging, and challenging method. The students we are preparing for success in life will have to be able to evaluate the reliability and validity of vast amounts of information in a very short amount of time. This necessitates that they be able to critically think through moral, ethical, and personal issues with objectivity and logical thinking structures.
As a comprehensive middle school, Mountain Ridge has made extensive efforts to train and equip its staff to facilitate a constructivist philosophy as they support students in their social, emotional, physical, and academic growth. Constructing knowledge through solving important problems and developing a strong conceptual understanding behind the skills they are mastering. Understanding the “why” of a new skill is extremely important to students internalizing the learning, and making it their own. We want their learning to be “enduring” rather than the goal being just to get the right answer. Brain research supports that having students construct their knowledge base rather than just completing and mastering isolated skills is how we need to prepare students to be successful in the ever expanding and complex information based society that we live in.
We are developing a STEM certificate program at Mountain Vista HS that our students who are interested can complete and receive upon graduation. This will be one of the first certificates offered around the country in this area.
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