Allen ISD STEAM Center
District State: Texas
District Website: allenisd.org/steamcenter
Challenge: Faced with unanticipated enrollment growth, Allen ISD needed additional high school space. The district also wanted to provide STEAM career-related curriculum for secondary students and to foster an interest in STEAM among K-8 students.
Initiative: The Allen ISD STEAM Center is both a high school and a facility for K-8 students to enjoy STEAM experiences. The learning environment includes science and robotics labs, collaborative learning spaces, discovery labs and makerspaces for hands-on building and exploration activities. Outdoor features include a pond for aquatic studies, discovery gardens, wildflower meadows, forested areas with seating, and an outdoor performance plaza. Courses range from earth and space science to engineering and robotics to web technologies and digital media.
Impact: The center is now home to 2,500 high school students, and more than 7,500 K-8 students have visited to participate in an array of learning experiences. The Allen ISD STEAM Center promotes curiosity, cultivates future-ready skills and prepares Allen ISD students for success in STEAM-related careers.
Advice: Before deciding to launch a STEM center project, district leaders need to determine what grade levels it will serve, says Maroba Zoeller, chief governmental relations officer. Stakeholder buy-in is essential, so leaders must be clear about the center’s purpose from the start, and include students, teachers, administrators and staff members in the process.