The MUFSD STEM family night

The Malverne UFSD held its first ever STEM family night and many families took advantage of the opportunity to tour the ground floor of the high school where all activities were concentrated. The STEM is popular. SDs are implementing variations of the STEM. Some SDs collaborate on its implementation. For example, I posted about it here and here. In recent years, the STEM was enriched by letters A and R, creating acronyms STEAM, and STREAM.

Parents could notice that all the three acronyms appear in various Malverne UFSD promo materials. They were displayed on a table right at the entrance. The students handed them to visitors while greeting them and inviting everybody to the upcoming bond vote taking place on Wednesday, November 16th.

The management talked about the acronyms at various meetings, rather amusingly. One could conclude that it’s just fine to use any acronym. Personally, I’d prefer to know exactly what the students are learning, on each grade level. How the current subjects are being rebranded in order to conform to the accepted STEM, or STEAM, or STREAM programs. How the program’s implementation affects time and money (FTEs), and the curriculum. The management has been working on that concept for the past year.

I think other #gomules have similar concerns. They should be involved in the process when creating a concept of any program at their public school. If the management used just the facilities (without students), one would not need to know how the staff reshuffled the desks in order to increase the school’s’ rankings on the “competitive” charts.

So with these thoughts, the visitors proceeded to rooms dedicated to “whatever letter” activities. Each activity was hosted by students. My own kids certainly didn’t need me around. They disappeared with their peers in the crowd and wanted to try everything. The crowd was dense, flowing in all directions. The lines for hands-on activities were long. I tried some of them, but was out of luck with the ball throwing machine. That was permanently occupied.

I welcomed the event, as I had the opportunity to roam the classrooms and closets turned into the classrooms for the first time. Yet, I felt immediately like at home, in a school of 1970s in communist Prague, Czechoslovakia. Nothing has changed. The wall trims, floors, cabinets and their knobs. All was functional, but just so aged. I didn’t plan to revisit past. I came to see the future. How did you feel, former Malverne HS alumni?

I know that more and more schools let parents enter the classrooms during the regular instruction on any day. The visits are important for parents in order to identify with the learning process of their kids. The visits also help parents form a general impression of the environment. From this point of view, the STEM family night served its purpose. It gave me few ideas. Other visitors certainly formed, or adjusted their own thoughts. The public should get together and share the thoughts about their public school.

I was in favor of the bond since the PR company released it in late August. I made my decision based just on simple facts:

  • The projects are specifically determined.
  • The capital projects increase the real estate value.
  • The investment is one-time $20M spread over X number of years. (It’s nothing compared to $54M of the annual budget).
  • Half of the investments will return to the school district.
  • The new facility will attract new families to the district.

After attending the STEM family night, I can add one very important point—students will be breathing much easier, as the proposed annex will help alleviate overcrowding. I vote yes on November 16th.

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