Going STEM: San Benito IDEA Academy ready for big change

SAN BENITO – Yafah Russek hopes to become a scientist some day and solve difficult problems facing the world.

“I want to find out things and invent things and fix the world’s problems,” said Yafah, 11, a fifth grader at IDEA Academy San Benito.

Yafah will begin classes next year at IDEA College Preparatory San Benito which is a STEM school (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). However, the school she’s attending now will become a STEM campus next year with an emphasis on STEM coursework. The school, which offers classes in grades pre-K through fifth grade, then will be known as the IDEA San Benito STEM Academy.

The decision to transform to a STEM school was based on a high demand for after-school programs in robotics and coding that school leaders wanted to provide to every student at the school.

The whole culture of the school will change, said Principal Patricia Noyola.

“This year, we call our students scholars,” Noyola said. “Next year we’re going to be calling them engineers. Our entire school culture is going to be built around engineering and being an engineer.”

Each day, students will have 45 minutes of STEM instruction. The STEM class will be designed around the engineering design process to teach students problem-solving skills. These skills will be geared toward empowering them to confront real world challenges, Noyola said.

“They’ll also go to an engineering rotation,” Noyola said. “They’ll have an hour and a half engineering block two or three days a week. They’ll learn more in depth about the engineering and design process and having an opportunity to solve real world challenges that we use engineering for.”

For the rest of this story and many other EXTRAS, go to our premium site, www.MyValleyStar.com.

Subscribe to it for only $6.99 per month or purchase a print subscription and receive the online version free, which includes an electronic version of the full newspaper and extra photo galleries, links and other information you can’t find anywhere else.