April 30 2017
HILLSBORO, Oregon - On Thursday ,Governor Kate Brown visited Quatama Elementary School to learn more about the school's integration of STEAM--Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math--throughout their curriculum.
Governor Brown's Washington County trip focused on housing, excellence in education, and economic development
Quatama is one of four STEM Transformation Schools in Hillsboro School District, and because they had an existing partnership with the Right Brain Initiative for the integration of art across subject areas, it only made sense to turn STEM to STEAM.
That integration is facilitated on site by Sharon Angal, who splits her time between teaching third grade and serving as the school's STEAM instructional coach. Her position is partially funded by the Portland Metro STEM Partnership, one of six regional STEM hubs in Oregon, which operates as a public-private collaborative that brings partners together to support STEM teaching and learning.
During the visit, Governor Brown toured two fourth-grade classrooms. In one, students worked in teams to design and prepare to build rafts as part of a unit on the Oregon Trail. In the other, students were creating models of the lungs in their study of body systems. Those students even sang and acted out a song about the respiratory system.
The school is currently in its fourth year of STEM transformation, and the results for students have been measurable. Students are reporting increased engagement and belief in their own abilities as learners. Last fall, Quatama was honored at a White House ceremony for their superior integration of STEAM and earning of an innOvation STEAM Grant Award.
Principal Christy Walters credits all parties for the success of the program: "The collaboration is amazing. From [Mrs. Angal] to the rest of the staff to students to Right Brain to the Portland Metro STEM Partnership and to partners like Intel, Laika Studios, and the Oregon Zoo--everyone is enthusiastic and supportive. [STEAM integration] is making a positive difference for students that will last into the future."