Standard 9


STEM EXTENSIONS: School/program provides within-school and extra-curricular opportunities for students to extend STEM learning. 

INITIATIVE NAME: Sharpen the Saw Clubs

The Sharpen the Saw Clubs initiative at M.C. Riley allows all students the opportunity to “Find their Voice” and expand their learning to real-world applications through monthly meetings of student-selected clubs. Many of these clubs are guided by teachers using their extracurricular interests and expertise to spark new passions in students, and some clubs are guided by community members who have particular passions beyond our school offerings. One such example is our gardening club, which involves students in cultivating the many gardens surrounding both school buildings on our campus, and is guided by local Master Gardeners. Other club offerings include STEM Club, which focuses on students leading the Cardboard Challenge initiative and connecting to the international Imagination Foundation, baking and cooking clubs which help students make practical applications of their STEM learning, LEGO Robotics, Sphero, and Dash and Dot clubs for experiences in programming, and Science Experiment Club, letting students investigate scientific learning beyond what is done in regular classrooms. 

Click to view a larger image of the list of Sharpen the Saw Clubs



As we strive to constantly improve our club programs to meet students’ needs and interests, as well as expose them to new styles of learning and more opportunities to engage with STEM curriculum (and other topics), adjustments have been made each semester. Students completed a feedback survey at the end of the 2018-19 school year, and suggestions for clubs were taken into account when teachers selected which clubs they would offer for the upcoming year. Similarly, when the club sign-up choices revealed that more students were interested in certain clubs (STEM club, pixel art creation, and baking, as well as others) than we had space available, modifications were made to shift adult leaders so that more students could join each of these. While some aspects of Sharpen the Saw Clubs remain flexible to meet students’ needs, the dates for each year’s monthly club meetings are determined at the end of the previous year as part of developing the overall school calendar. This is evidence of the importance of Sharpen the Saw clubs to developing the whole child and our commitment to offering opportunities to extend STEM learning (as well as other real-world skill application) beyond classrooms.

Click here to view the Sharpen the Saw Survey Results

Collecting data to analyze and continue to grow the Sharpen the Saw clubs is a focus for further extending this initiative.