STEM’s seventh-grade team has created a transformational capstone cross-curricular Problem Based Learning unit around the Holocaust. Students study this period of history through various frames provided by each subject area culminating with a virtual Holocaust Museum walk featuring primary and secondary source material. Their personal avatar guides the visitors through each museum.
As part of this five-year legacy PBL, STEM has welcomed Mrs. Fanny Starr, a Holocaust survivor of Nazi concentration camps. Fanny Starr had a mission in life to tell her story so that the atrocities will not be forgotten. In years past, our gym would fill with seventh graders and staff as we listened to her heart-wrenching stories. She would always conclude with her belief in the goodness of people and hope. She said STEM teaches hope. She advised all students and staff each year to be kind to one another. Fanny Starr passed away this past year and her daughter, Helen, continues her legacy.
Fanny Starr’s message of hope and kindness are needed and resonate this week at STEM. It is a very emotional time for our extended community. Our SRO, Officer Gabe Uribe, gives a constant message to choose kindness. It is a choice we all make each day.
As I meet with our teacher leaders and plan for 2021-22, I am overcome with gratitude that they are excited and resolved to make next year our best yet. The best, in my opinion, are the ones who show up and give their best each day optimising the student experience. Some of our Middle School faculty are excited to teach their students once again at the High School level. A few are AP certified and are working with ACC to receive CE certification. Many prefer the uniqueness of Middle School and choose to remain in their favorite grade. At K-5, STEM will have very few new positions and where there are openings, the grade-level teams have made their selections from very strong candidates. New faculty always refresh our mission to Never Stop Innovating.
This was a very challenging and emotional week at STEM and for the entire community. If we can be kind and extend grace to the unkind, we will continue to heal. Fanny Starr experienced the unspeakable yet lived a life filled with hope and belief in the goodness of others. As we continue to prepare for the new school year, let’s all join together to rally around our returning staff & faculty with kindness so that they can do their best for our students.
PTO, you are STEM’s champion in making our staff feel appreciated this week with Teacher Appreciation Week. Thank you for the tremendous effort and kindness.
Thank you to our neighboring businesses for sheltering our students when we most needed you. STEM will be visiting with messages of gratitude.
Happy Mother’s Day,
P.J. Eucker PhD