Igniting Young Minds

MCS STEM Education Program and Teacher

May 25, 2016

We are very excited to announce the introduction of a new STEM education program for the fall of 2016 at MCS!  What is STEM? STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.  While originally designed to encourage students to pursue careers in these areas, STEM education has evolved into a unique approach to teaching and learning that fosters creativity and innovative thinking in all students.  STEM education produces exactly the kind of thinkers, innovators, and problem solvers that our world demands. 
 
STEM teaches students to use a technology focused design process and to draw from each of its four key areas in every classroom setting.  In a STEM classroom, students develop analytical and creative skills through investigation and problem solving.  STEM moves beyond an emphasis on simple test performance and focuses instead on developing higher-level thinking skills that students can use in college and their careers.
 
Our Technology Initiative Team, that includes talented MCS parents working for nationally recognized tech companies such as Intel, identified three phases for implementation and the actions required for success:

Phase One: Add new teacher, new courses/curriculum, launch funding campaigns
Phase Two: Add new technology equipment/spaces for learning, formal teacher training
Phase Three: Effective classroom integration, modify curriculum, assess resources/needs
 
We began praying for the right person to be our STEM focused teacher late last year and the Lord has answered and provided an outstanding new teacher.  I’m proud to share with you that last month, the School Board hired Mr. Brian Miller to lead the technology initiative at MCS.   After almost 30 years of successful experience in the field of engineering, Mr. Miller sensed that God was calling him to Christian education.  He stated that his interest in MCS was three-fold: ministry, teaching, and family –
“Having already graduated one child from MCS in 2013, I have seen first-hand the value of a Christian education.  Teaching children is more than just reading, writing, and arithmetic; it is instilling in them a Biblical worldview that will continue with them the rest of their lives.  To be a part of that mission at MCS would be more than just a job, it would be a life-long dream and ministry.”             
 - Brian Miller
 
Mr. Miller holds a Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from Case Western Reserve University.  He has worked as an engineer for Texas Instruments, NASA, Divelbiss, and Hamilton Safe Co., among others - specializing in electronics, software, web development, networking, database programming, and research/development.  Brian and his wife, Letitia, have three children at MCS: Nicole, Caleb, and Katelyn, and they “…feel it is time for us to give back to the school and the community of believers that surrounds the school.”

In order to transform our computer curriculum into relevant and innovative STEM courses, the following curriculum changes are in place for 2016-2017:
 
K-6: STEM class at least once per week creating STEM projects based on what classroom teachers are actually covering; file formats, internet browsers, typing proficiency, Office Tools, PowerPoint, devices, computational thinking, web development.

7th: STEM Part I (one semester): Hands-on learning of operating systems, coding, app-development, and electronics.  Team projects to solve real-world problems using engineering design processes.

8th: STEM Part II (one semester): A continuation of operating systems, coding, app-development, and electronics with advanced use of Microsoft Office Suite and graphics design tools.

9-10: STEM Elective (full-year):  Coding, app-development, electronics, CAD (computer aided design), robotics, web development, graphics design, marketing material design, and networking.  Team-based projects to solve real-world problems using engineering design processes.

11-12: STEM Elective (full-year):  Coding, app-development, electronics, product marketing, and project management.  Team-based projects to solve real-world problems using engineering design processes.  Projects will include designing and building your project, creating a team Web-site, design of marketing materials, costing, and project management. An end-of-year symposium will provide an opportunity to present completed designs. Collaboration with corporate mentors will be pursued where available and appropriate.
 
To address our resource needs, we have ordered 35 new Chromebooks for use in the elementary this fall.  We have also ordered new furniture for the secondary computer lab.  Ultimately, our goal is to provide a portable computer for each student, all-day, every day.  In addition, we have plans designed for the complete renovation of the secondary science lab and would like to re-design the secondary library by turning it into a technology commons area for collaborative team project work. 
 
A multifaceted funding campaign is underway and a “Startup Weekend” event has already been planned for this summer and was presented to the secondary students.  This exciting project was designed by members of the tech team to give students a chance to create and market a STEM-based company to help raise awareness and funds for the program at MCS. 
 
As you can see, we are well on our way to increasing the quality and value of an MCS education.  We want our students prepared for their calling, college, and career in a globalized, connected, and competitive world.   .However, our program is unique in that it is built on the understanding that technology and innovation can be used in Christian service to the world.  Only in a Christian school can you get this type of training.  We have the responsibility to teach about technology from a Biblical worldview, and we will pursue this with the same devotion to Biblical principles that we give all of our subjects at MCS.   
 
Dr. Cy Smith
Superintendent
 

 

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