6.1 The STEM school/program supports non-traditional student participation through outreach to groups often underrepresented in the STEM pipeline.
Our essential agreement at Michael C. Riley Elementary School is to serve 100% of the student population through STEM instruction during the school day and through outreach programs.
With 821 Students, our current school demographics are reflected below:
12% African American
<1% American Indian
*74% of students qualify for free or reduced lunch.
Our inquiry-based instruction, problem-based approach to learning, and emphasis on habits of mind that accompany STEM instruction is offered to all students. An Inquiry Room experience before school is open to all students in kindergarten and first grade, and a STEM lab is an element of science instruction for all students in grades 3-5. This includes students who are currently performing above, on, and/or below grade level, and represents the entire spectrum of ability levels. Females, students from minority backgrounds, and students who qualify for free or reduced lunch have equal exposure and access to STEM education as those students who are traditionally represented in the STEM pipeline.
Our after-school programs, such as Robotics Club, Enrichment & Homework Club, and Imagination Foundation boast enrollment demographics that mirror those of the overall school population. Girls and minority students are invited in strategic ways in order to engage all interested students, regardless of traditional under-representation.
In the fall, our Family Health Fair/Cardboard Challenge invited younger students and families outside of our school to participate in STEM activities with current students, and our Family STEM Night/Open Houses provide opportunities to share STEM challenges with younger siblings and students from beyond our current school population. Our school’s participation in the May River Cleanup also gives younger siblings the opportunity to engage in environmental challenges with older students, and promotes awareness of Michael C. Riley’s focus in the areas of leadership and STEM with community members.
District and school-level Choice Fairs are our major outreach activities, as the district shifts to a School Choice model, in which “All Beaufort County School District families have the opportunity to indicate their preference for school assignments based on participation in school choice program options available within their attendance zone.”* Choice fairs and open houses allow current and potential Michael C. Riley families the opportunity to learn about our school focus, “Learning through Leadership.” These fairs will also demonstrate the links between STEM and Leadership, and will appeal to families who are interested in a school philosophy that “equips students with the self-confidence and skills they need to survive in the 21st century economy,” including those families of students who are traditionally underserved in the STEM pipeline.