Frisco Elementary School embarks on new educational curriculum |

Frisco Elementary School embarks on new educational curriculum

Joe Moylan
Frisco Elementary School principal Renea Hill, center, hugs two students during an ice cream social in 2013. Hill will end her run in the role at the end of this academic year, and will be replaced by incoming principal Laura Rupert.
Joe Moylan / |

The traditional ways of learning could go the way of the dinosaur if a new educational concept being implemented in Summit County is deemed successful.

After years of planning, educators at Frisco Elementary School are about to embark on a new educational curriculum focused on the sciences, technology, engineering and math. The program, known as STEM, aims to teach kids how to think critically and collaboratively to come up with solutions to real world problems. Although the program may seem to be heavily focused on the sciences, Peder Hansen, STEM coordinator at Frisco Elementary, said it is ideal for promoting skills in reading, writing and research.

“We tend to focus on language arts because that is what kids are most heavily tested on at the state,” Hansen said. “The goal this year is to embed engineering across the curriculum because it embodies everything from writing, reading and research to technology, math and critical thinking concepts.”

Identified by the Summit School District Board of Education as a pilot program for the STEM program, the goal at Frisco Elementary School is to use current issues students are familiar with and care about, such as the pine beetle epidemic, to teach them problem-solving skills. It’s a diversion from the traditional scientific method of teaching, Hansen said, but the goal remains the same.

“If we teach this as A to Z we’re done and that’s part of the problem,” Hansen said. “We’re still responsible for teaching state standards, but we’re changing the delivery of how information is presented to make it authentic.”

Authorized through the International Baccalaureate program implemented across the district, another goal of the STEM program is to enhance education through community partnerships to provide students with the opportunity to present their ideas to local experts.

“We’re excited and thrilled with this new approach,” said Renea Hill, principal of Frisco Elementary School. “We want to provide students with an opportunity to interact with the community through strong partnerships and hopefully this new way of learning will extend beyond the boundaries of the school walls.”

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