New Construction

Under-Construction Middle School Could Become STEAM Academy

Jarrett Middle School, an existing member of Springfield Public Schools whose new campus is currently under construction in Springfield, Mo., could be designated as a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) academy by the time it opens.

The discussion began in 2019, when voters approved a $168-million bond issue that included funds to rebuild the school on a larger campus. “We reached out to the staff to see if there would be any interest in pursuing a ‘choice’ program option at Jarrett,” said Kelsey Brabo, coordinator of choice programs. “There was an overwhelming majority from the staff—like 70 or 80 percent—that were interested.”

The plan was put on hold during the pandemic, but talks are starting up again. A preliminary proposal was presented to school administrators, who gave approval to explore the idea further. Should the plan move forward, no changes would need to be made to the building’s design or construction. Brabo said the next step is to research and plan what the Jarrett Middle School version of a STEAM academy would look like.

“We have so many model and sister schools that we can learn from. And we can take the success and the opportunities that have come from other programs across the nation, and we are going to be able to identify what is going to be best for Jarrett,” she said. Brabo also said that the school’s curriculum will still address the normal Missouri learning standards, just through a different lens.

If the plan gets approval and funding from the school board, the STEAM program could launch alongside the school’s projected opening in August 2022.

The school’s new campus is being built on the former site of a demolished elementary school. It will have a capacity of 725 students between sixth and eighth grade, and it will include a storm shelter, fix accessibility and safety issues of the former campus, and provide outdoor space for extracurricular activities.

About the Author

Matt Jones is senior editor of Spaces4Learning. He can be reached at [email protected].