May 3, 2017

PDS Announces STEAM Initiative For New Curriculum and Facilities

Princeton Day School (PDS) is planning an ambitious initiative to introduce a new STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics) curriculum and construct a new STEAM facility for the 2017-18 school year.

The new program will focus on “integration, collaboration, innovation, and creativity,” with an interdisciplinary emphasis, blending traditional and project-based approaches to help students “to see, interpret, and understand fundamental concepts and to solve real-life problems,” according to a May 1 PDS press release.

Next year’s new STEAM curriculum will include Freshman STEAMinar, providing a baseline of literacy in STEAM disciplines for all ninth graders; a completely redesigned computer science curriculum from Introduction to Computer Science to AP Computer Science Principles; a new course in robotics and information processing; and a project-based course to introduce students to engineering in its many diverse manifestations.

The curriculum is designed to introduce the younger students to the power and relevance of these subjects, to provide all students with basic STEAM literacy “so they can be engaged, informed participants in a 21st century world increasingly defined by questions at the intersection of science, math technology, and society,” and to challenge advanced students with a rigorous program of electives to prepare them for future professional opportunities as leaders in STEAM fields.

PDS, working with Boston architects ARC Cambridge, has also developed plans for construction of a 2,000-square-foot STEAM Center at the convergence of the school’s math and science wings to be completed for the opening of school next September.

This newly-created space will allow students to “contend with practical problems of the sort that engineers, programmers, researchers, designers, and developers encounter in their professional lives,” the press release noted.

In discussing the inspiration for this major STEAM initiative at PDS, Upper School Head Jason Robinson stated, “The centerpiece of PDS is the strength of its academic program. The larger national conversation about the future of STEAM education compelled our attention as a leading academic institution. We began to ask fundamental questions about what we teach, how we teach it, and how to align our program with the best thinking and practices in STEAM education.”

PDS is in the process of hiring a new STEAM coordinator for the 2017-18 school year.