The Grove City Area School District is a small, rural, public school district serving southeastern region of Mercer County, Pennsylvania.
Over the last three years, the district has embraced STEAM through the training of elementary staff and the implementation of the “Engineering is Elementary” program, which incorporates the engineering design process in the learning experience of its youngest students. The program has provided a vehicle to teach problem-solving, collaboration, grit, and teamwork through the lens of an engineer. The district is also in the middle of an addition/renovation project at the elementary building, featuring state-of-the-art lab spaces that are utilized by students through the district’s STEAM coach and her coordination.
At Grove City Area Middle School, students experience the Inventionland program that promotes designing, engineering, building, and marketing a new invention or idea as part of an integrated curricular approach. The program expands students’ understanding of the engineering design process, allows for greater levels of collaboration, and incorporates a layer of entrepreneurial skills. Two Grove City Area Middle School students won the Inventionland regional competition in May 2019, and two of the district’s teachers were recognized for their excellent efforts. These accolades were earned during the district’s first year of implementing the program.
Grove City Area High School offers several STEAM-related courses and is working to expand its program through a reallocation of time during the day. The high school is offering a ‘Lunch and Learn’ common time during the day, which gives students time to seek help and assistance and the opportunity to collaborate with peers and adults throughout the building. The building administration, in collaboration with school counselors, teachers, and students, are also working to develop student-designed independent studies. The redesigned structure of the high school is expanding support and opportunity for each student.
Overall, the district has made great strides over the last three years to expand higher order thinking skills from K-12, encourage exploration and play as part of the designed learning, improve problem solving skills while collaborating with others, improve communication via its move to the Google platform for staff and students, and fostering the importance of building supportive relationships with students.