Skip to main content
Changing Education Paradigms


Project Based Learning: Explained





Why STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math)?

The world is changing at a pace that is unprecedented in human history. How we work, shop, play, and interact have been revolutionized by the technological innovations of the last few decades. We know the innovations of today will be obsolete in a few short years, and, in some cases, even months. We may not know how the world will change but we can be assured the rate of change will not slow down and will likely accelerate. Our students will need to be lifelong learners,  prepared to take the jobs and careers of the future, many of which do not even exist yet.  

To succeed in this new fast-paced world of the 21st-century workplace, our students will need to cultivate a new set of skills. Problem-solving, critical thinking, and innovation will be valued over simple task completion. Our students must be capable of imagining a range of possible solutions to any given problem and select the best course of action. Great outcomes are seldom accomplished alone. Students must be able to collaborate effectively with their peers and make effective contributions to a team.

Garfield STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) is committed to giving our students the tools they will need to make their college and career goals a reality. Our students begin their day with a caring advisor who helps them navigate the complexities of middle school, get organized, sharpen their interpersonal skills, and learn how to effectively collaborate through teambuilding games, competitions, and challenges. Weekly morning meetings with their whole grade level build a sense of community and identity.

The core classes of Humanities, Science, and Math meet in 82-minute sessions. These longer blocks allow our teachers the time needed to give our students challenging and interesting projects where students have the opportunity to explore complex problems and work with classmates to discover solutions. The engineering component of our program is delivered through each student’s Science class. Sixth graders work with robotics in our state of the art technology lab and 7th graders work with specialized software to develop new and original computer applications.Technology is integrated and woven throughout the curriculum. Every student develops a personal website and is able to complete and submit work electronically using the Google Classroom platform. We have four stationary computer labs and four mobile computer labs available for our students. We are able to deliver this specialized instruction in a small school community of fewer than 400 students.

Garfield STEM also has everything you would expect from a traditional middle school. We have a first-rate athletics program with basketball, volleyball, track and field, flag football, and soccer. Our electives include art, band, orchestra, information technology, physical education, AVID, and  Junior Army Guard (JAG). After school enrichment programs are also available.  

To find out more about Garfield STEM School, click on the STEM tab above, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter. I would like to thank you for choosing Garfield STEM School. I know that, together, we can give our students the tools to succeed in school and in life.

Garfield's STEM School design:

  • Advisory: Students will meet with their advisor every day. Advisory classes will be small and meet once in the morning and once in the afternoon. Advisors build relationships that help students with organization and team building. Advisors know their students well and are a parent's first point of contact.
  • Schedule: Garfield will run a block schedule that will allow students to receive 163 minutes of Math and Science every day. 
  • Project Based Learning (PBL): PBL brings real-life context and technology to the curriculum. Students are encouraged to become independent workers and critical thinkers. PBL is also a way of working together. It is more like the project work students will find in their professional lives. 
  • Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID): AVID is designed to close the achievement gap by preparing all students for college readiness and success in a global society. 
  • Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM): We focus on these areas together not only because the skills and knowledge in each discipline are essential for student success, but also because these fields are deeply intertwined in the real world and in how students learn most effectively.