Staff members throughout the Merced City School District love to make learning fun and involve parents in the process - from family math game nights to student performances that incorporate science curriculum. They know that students feel more motivated and engaged when they enjoy what they’re doing, and they know that support from loved ones has a positive impact as well.
Our new STEAM Center has created even more opportunities for children and their parents to enjoy learning together. The center opened in August next to Ada Givens Elementary and serves all of our TK-8th grade students. It supplements the work happening every day in our classrooms by providing a 21st century space for experiential learning in science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math. It also allows groups of teachers to work together and learn from one another, and it provides a place for additional community collaboration and special events.
Our district’s commitment to parental and community engagement inspired our Educational Services team to plan a series of free family nights at the STEAM Center, which started earlier month. Guest presenters who work with our students during the day have been staying after hours to put on extra events for the community. The first one took place on May 3 when Jazzy Ash and the Leaping Lizards performed for guests who gathered around the center’s outdoor amphitheater. The award-winning group had people of all ages up dancing to jazz tunes, which were wittily woven with science and history lessons. On May 9, artist, writer, and speaker Jon Pearson led children and their parents through an interactive art class. He illustrated how drawing can inspire imagination and creativity that supports learning across a variety of subjects. Our third special guest was educator and musician, Dr. Craig Woodson. He helped families engineer their own instruments using recycled materials during our fourth annual STEAM Fair on May 17.
Up next, we are excited to invite community members to enjoy a hands-on workshop by kite expert, David Shenkman. He will be at the STEAM Center on June 4 from 6-7 p.m. teaching families all about building and flying kites. His presentation incorporates engineering, art, and physics in a fun and fast-paced way. Again, this is a free event, and all of the materials are provided so students and their parents can just show up and enjoy! Every child who attends will also receive a free raffle ticket for a chance to win a bicycle that was generously donated by Kevin’s Bikes in Merced. Thank you, Mr. McCarthy!
We have loved seeing families at all of the special events at our schools and STEAM Center this year, and we look forward to many more in the future. For more details about our STEAM Center, including the address and contact information, please visit the MCSD website at: http://www.mcsd.k12.ca.us/District/Portal/steam-center.
Sara Sandrik, an Emmy Award-winning former journalist, is the public information officer for the Merced City School District. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.