Bourne’s public schools are putting an artistic spin on the growing emphasis on science, technology, engineering and mathematics in schools nationwide.
Rather than following the educational trend, often referred to by the acronym STEM, Bourne Schools
Superintendent Steven M. Lamarche has announced the district will be adding a STEAM coordinator to the school district. That’s STEAM with an added “A” for art.
He said that he found that STEAM was a more appropriate fit than STEM. He said that the growing trend over the past five or more years in education has been an emphasis on the burgeoning world of technology, but it is equally essential that the arts be factored into the curriculum.
“We have to add the creative side and tap into the arts along with the other components,” Mr. Lamarche said. He noted that the arts and the sciences do not exist separately, but often together.
“I think that you would be hard-pressed to find a Nobel Peace Prize winner who has not used that part of his brain,” the superintendent said, mentioning that many esteemed scientists are also accomplished musicians or painters.
The STEAM coordinator was actually one of two new coordinator positions the superintendent announced as part of his budget for the coming fiscal year, the other being a humanities coordinator. Both positions would be full time, working with grades 7 to 12, and requiring a time commitment of 10 months and 10 days, Mr. Lamarche said. “The 10 months of the school year and 10 days out of the summer,” he said.
The projected salary for each position is $85,000. Mr. Lamarche said that he has not approached anyone about the positions yet.
“I have not devised the job descriptions or had them approved yet by the school committee,” he said.
Mr. Lamarche said that in addition to helping with programming curriculum for the 7 to 12 grades, the coordinators will assist the school administration with the heavy volume of paperwork that accompanies the new state-mandated teacher evaluations.
“They’ll be looking at how we’re assessing our students and the effectiveness of our curriculum, as well as the development, analysis and feedback of our teachers,” he said.
The superintendent said that he has not received any negative reaction to the new positions from the Bourne Educators Association, the union representing schoolteachers in the Bourne public schools. The superintendent’s proposed budget for next year calls for the loss of two full-time teachers at Bourne High School.
“None of us want to lose positions,” Mr. Lamarche said, noting that there is a slight relationship to the creation of the coordinator positions and the loss of teachers. However, the teacher cuts are due to enrollment declines, he said. He explained that projections for student enrollment at the high school next year is for 525 to 530 students, with a loss of 20 students, at least, to Upper Cape Regional Technical School.
“We’ve been running lean for almost two years, and we’re at a point now where it’s a budget decision,” he said, mentioning that there are only so many dollars to go around.