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Bring on the STEAM Team

Thanks to some generous funding the Vermont Agency of Education, this past spring I was able to partner with our school's phenomenal new art teacher Abbie Bowker and create an afterschool club called the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) Team. The core of the grant was that our group had to identify one or more community problems that might be addressed by students using multiple elements of STEAM. In touring the school our team identified two issues they wanted to try to address - the lack of a multilingual sense of welcome to our school's entrance, and the lack of personal identity for teacher's classrooms. In both cases the team hoped to create some products that could contribute to a more positive school atmosphere where people feel welcomed and recognized.

If you'd like to learn about the process, our team made a culminating video that really digs deep into everything we did together over four months - here is a link: A quick summary is that the team created a two multicolored welcome windows in our front entrance. They worked with our

EL teacher specialist Melita Sedic-Lawton to identify the home languages of our community families and then accurately translate "welcome" in each of 15 languages. Then they designed the layout and cut them from vinyl using Cricut cutters, even carefully selecting colors that have positive meanings in each of the cultures. The result is an eye-catching new set of windows.

The team also decided to create personalized wooden wall signs for any interested teachers. They worked together create a packet of font and icon options for teachers to choose from, and then worked with individual teachers to create a unique sign that captured both their role in the school as well as a bit of their personality in the form of a favorite quote or saying. These ideas were then

transformed into graphics that could be laser engraved using our makerspace glowforge lasercutters. After a little finish work the outcome is our hallways now are full of eyecatching signs that both can guide you but also let everyone learn a little bit more about each other. We're only about halfway to having everyone "signed up" but hopefully things can continue throughout the coming school year. You can also read about the project in the Champlain Valley School District blog at:

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