As we strive to enhance our competitive curriculum in today’s interconnected world, we have established several successful programs through our STEAM Initiative. Our emphasis on the STEAM disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) has enhanced our already rigorous curriculum, and has contributed to critical thinking in other disciplines outside of STEAM, inspiring students and faculty alike.
Throughout all grades, the emphasis is on hands-on learning: more laboratory time, more time spent on inquiry-based instruction, and increased cross-curricular learning. The long term goal of the STEAM Initiative is not only to have students learn information within each of the STEAM disciplines; but also to gain an understanding of how knowledge is added to all scientific fields through observation and experimentation—and how this method is used in nearly every facet of modern life.
In 2011, BWL established the Women in Science Education program, known to the community as WISE, with a focus on engaging Middle School students. For Upper School students seeking the opportunity to conduct independent research, we created an accelerated program with oversight by faculty mentors. With the announcement of the STEM Initiative came an almost immediate outpouring of support from the community, and thanks to support of BWL families, we were able to completely renovate our science labs, and to upgrade our chemical equipment.
The emphasis on STEAM has had a ripple effect, and like any good experiment, we now have results beyond what we could have ever imagined. Archaeology Week, originally conceived as a single unit of STEAM-related learning, is now a mainstay of our curriculum. The highly popular Robotics team, The Birch Bots, won the “Rookie All Star Award” shortly after BWL’s first robot was constructed. The team continues to attract new members who enjoy the collaboration and discipline of building and competing with their peers. These are just a few examples of the impact of the STEM Initiative, which continues to affirm BWL’s mission as a rigorous traditional school, while alerting us to every current in our rapidly changing world.
"The emphasis on STEM has had a ripple effect, and like any good experiment, we now have results beyond what we could have ever imagined."