More FWCS schools to get STEM or STEAM curriculum

January 9, 2018 GMT

Irwin Elementary School isn’t the only Fort Wayne Community school that will have a relationship with Discovery Education.

The school board on Monday approved a four-year, $1.62 million contract with Discovery Education for professional learning services and the development of STEM or STEAM curriculum for six additional schools.

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math. STEAM includes the arts.

The board in August approved a Discovery Education contract to update and enhance the STEM curriculum at Irwin, a science and math magnet school.

The new contract includes the schools Irwin feeds into -- Portage Middle School and Wayne High School -- as well as four schools for the STEAM initiative. They are Whitney Young Early Childhood Center, Weisser Park Elementary School, Memorial Park Middle School and South Side High School.

The fine arts curriculum, for example, will be updated to include technology and engineering used in 21st century musical and theatrical performances.

It will take four years to fully develop the program at the schools, where there will be a focus on inquiry-based and project-based learning, administrators said.

“The work with Discovery will not create a curriculum that we will be locked into and may grow outdated over time,” said Get Nichols, assistant superintendent of elementary education.

“We want to create a learning environment where children are immersed in project-based learning and can adapt to the changing world they will encounter.”

Although FWCS can look to other school districts, including one in Florida, as models, Superintendent Wendy Robinson said Fort Wayne’s program won’t look like theirs.

That’s because FWCS isn’t replicating a “cookie cutter” program with Discovery Education, Nichols said.

In other news, the school board approved multiple construction contracts.

Contracts for masonry restoration at Arlington and Forest Park elementary schools were awarded to Atlas Building Services Inc. for 156,100, respectively.

A contract for the Blackhawk Middle School kitchen renovation was awarded to Schenkel Construction Inc. for $1,071,020. The project will create a full cooking kitchen and includes replacing such equipment as the cooler and freezer.

A contract for a roof replacement project at Irwin Elementary School was awarded to Dahm Brothers Inc. for $218,300. It is part of the 2016 bond projects voters approved.

All of the projects are expected to be substantially completed by late July or mid-August.