RYE NECK SCHOOL:
The Rye Neck School District dove into summer by ratcheting up its STEAM opportunities to accommodate today’s students’ affinity for technology.
By Janice Llanes Fabry
The Rye Neck School District dove into summer by ratcheting up its STEAM opportunities to accommodate today’s students’ affinity for technology. In addition, the district intensified its technology resources so that this fall, Rye Neck is entirely a Google school.
“This move offers us a more robust platform by allowing us to join school districts across the nation that participate in a Google Classroom. It offers tremendous collaboration opportunities, saves time, and provides additional protection from outside cyber issues,” explained Superintendent Peter Mustich. “We have Chromebooks that increase resource accessibility and we’ve created new web pages that better engage students and parents.”
This transition is part of the district’s longstanding 21st century learning initiative, as is its effort to introduce more STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics) options.
Mustich, along with Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and High School Principal Barbara Ferraro, envision STEAM as a “design thinking model” that permeates the entire curriculum and addresses how students approach any problem.
“It’s about students working on an issue and resolving it in a meaningful way, whether they are looking at it from a scientific, mathematical, engineering, or an art perspective. Technology is the tool to help them do it,” Mustich remarked. “It is also in line with what the Common Core is asking us to do.”
Science Chair Ray Loverso noted, “STEAM education is really just teaching kids to be well-rounded and innovative problem solvers.”
Ferraro added that Rye Neck still highly values the arts and humanities and focuses on the whole child, but the trend in recent years has been that students are doubling up on science, engineering, coding, and robotics classes. “They’ve been getting accepted into technology, engineering, and computer science programs at top schools,” she said. “We have to continue to prepare them.”
To that end, Mathematics Chair Joseph Perlman is introducing several programs to “help students actualize practical uses for the abstract concepts they learn in class.” Students will be participating in Moody’s Mega Challenge that spotlights math as a powerful problem-solving tool; Mathcon, a nationwide competition for grades 6-12; and Caribou Mathematics Competition, a worldwide online contest.