Bourne's STEAM Director Starts With Arts

PATRICIA PEAL/ENTERPRISE - Christine Borning, STEAM director, and teacher Amy Fish are getting the new research and design studio at Bourne High School ready for hands-on learning. Bourne students in all grades and schools are expected to utilize the studio in pursuit of science, technology, engineering, arts and math curriculum integration.PATRICIA PEAL/ENTERPRISE - Final touches are being put on the new robotics lab at Bourne High School. Robotics is just one of the areas the high school has expanded to enhance the science, technology, engineering, arts and math curriculum.

A 12-year veteran of music instruction in the town’s schools has taken on the newly created position of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) director for the district.

Christine Borning has accepted the challenge and has begun reaching out to teachers in all Bourne schools and grade levels to offer curriculum guidance and support in the areas of science, technology, engineering, arts and math.

“The arts are a natural fit with STEM initiatives because the creative process is integral to innovation. The acts of brainstorming, problem solving, and revision are all valuable skills and all of these artistic practices align with scientific, mathematical and engineering processes,” Ms. Borning said.

While many other school districts and state education initiatives refer to science, technology, engineering and math classes as STEM learning, Bourne has decided to add an “A” in the acronym, for arts, making it STEAM.

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“Bourne schools have always excelled in the arts. These are important flagship classes for us,” Ms. Borning said.

Ms. Borning was the band director at Bourne Middle School for 10 years before making the switch to STEAM director this summer. She was also a co-chairman of the fine arts curriculum development team for the district and has a self-professed passion for curriculum and instruction.

She is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Boston University, where she received her master’s degree in music education. When she saw the posting for the STEAM director job she was excited to apply for the chance to use her education and knowledge of curriculum development to the big picture of STEAM learning.

“Ms. Borning is an established instructional leader. As a talented music instructor, she has an acute vantage point on performance based instruction. Furthermore, she has an excellent reputation amongst her peers and is an excellent match for our vested science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics staff members,” said Steven M. Lamarche, superintendent of Bourne schools.

Ms. Borning attended a workshop this summer called “Advancing Understanding by Design” with Grant Wiggins. Her priority this fall is to get to know all of the district staff members and discover how she can best support them and capitalize on their innovative ideas and current programs, such as science teacher Andrew Collins and his robotics initiatives at the high school. Mr. Collins started robotics as an after school club, which will be expanding to a class this fall. A new robotics lab at Bourne High School is almost finished.

“She is a resourceful, enterprising educator who will work tirelessly to support the integration of STEAM studies in the Bourne Public Schools. We are lucky to be part of her interest in expanding her leadership skills and we look forward to the difference she will make for students,” Mr. Lamarche said.

In addition to Ms. Borning’s STEAM support, Bourne schools and teachers also have a new research and design studio that is housed at the high school and available to every class in the district. Dedicated STEAM teacher Amy Fish will oversee the studio and co-teach when a class is brought in to experience hands-on research and design processes as they relate to the subject they are studying.

“It is our hope that Ms. Borning can encourage and support the development and use of the research and design studio throughout the district,” Ms. Fish said. The studio is expected to be ready this fall.

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