A STEAM program is boosting test scores at South Fremont High School in Eastern Idaho, by expanding the core curriculum to include the arts.

Soft Skills

The school is located in a rural area, and is in the fourth year as a STEAM school.  STEAM includes science, technology, engineering, art, and math.

“You’re looking at a 25-year music teacher,” said South Fremont principal Larry Bennett. “You don’t have to tell us that art is an important part of education.”

In addition to the emphasis on STEAM, teachers have added Common Core aligned writing, and project based learning. These work within the broad framework and result in improved SAT scores and preparing students ready for college.

The scores are still below the state average but they have increased at least 3 percentage points in reading and writing since 2012. Math scores have jumped by 6 percentage points in that time period.

“Our writing skills were so bad before (STEAM) that it was embarrassing,” said Bonnie Warne, a veteran English language arts teacher. “Now we have kids coming back to the high school and saying that the writing skills they picked up through STEAM are playing a key role in their success both here and in college.”

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