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Registration for SBCISD’s STEAM Academy to open

March 24, 2018 GMT

SAN BENITO — Elementary students looking to get ahead in science and math will soon be able to.

Registration for San Benito school district’s first-ever STEAM Academy opens Monday.

The San Benito school board voted in late February to close down Dr. Raul Garza Elementary and create a STEAM Academy, allowing the district to become more competitive with local charter schools.

STEAM is Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics.

The district also announced Dr. Raul Garza Elementary Principal Elsa Lambert would lead the transition to a STEAM Academy for the 2018-2019 school year.

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Students currently enrolled at Dr. Raul Garza Elementary will be given priority through a grandfathered clause, however those students will face a shorter registration period that will begin Monday, March 26, and end the following Friday.

“Their continued enrollment will be contingent upon meeting the same criteria as all other applicants,” Lambert said.

SBCISD students and students in surrounding districts with an aptitude for math and science will have an opportunity to register until the end of April.

“Our hope is that children from within our district and neighboring districts take advantage of this wonderful opportunity,” Lambert said.

Once registration ends, the applications will be reviewed by a committee and children will be notified of their acceptance.

Lambert said the academy is expecting to enroll between 500 and 700 students in the upcoming school year.

STEAM provides similar education as STEM campuses that focus on teaching science, technology, engineering and math but with the addition of the arts.

The creation of the STEAM Academy helps to develop the whole child, adding creativity in practical and logical studies.

The campus will have a Mine Craft Education Lab to teach children about coding and utilize Legos to assist with design.

According to a study done by the University of Florida, students studying some form of art throughout high school are more likely to score almost 100 points higher on the SATs compared to students who don’t.

Engineering in Elementary Curriculum will be utilized to help children think outside the box and develop their creativity, Lambert said.

In addition, iPads will be available for kindergarten and first-grade students while students from second through fifth-grade will have access to Chromebooks.

The district plans to move forward to introduce new education initiatives and is currently considering opening additional magnet schools in the future and as soon as the 2019-2020 school year.

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How arts are important in STEM education

• Students who study the arts are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement

• On average, students who study the arts for four years in high school score 98 points higher on the SATs compared to those who study for half a year or less

• Training in art education builds essential interpretive skills

• STEM graduates who successfully opened their own businesses or filed for patents were eight times more likely to be exposed to the arts as children than the average person