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A Year of STEM: Saint Martin of Tours School Embodies Innovative Spirit of the Valley


Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math: These four subject areas have been trending in education as of late. How can schools best prepare students for a world which is increasingly shifting its focus to these areas while still offering a well-rounded educational experience? Successfully answering this question is even more imperative for a school that operates in the shadows of tech industry giants. Saint Martin of Tours School has risen to this challenge by partnering with the community to offer students a variety of experiences designed to pique interests and encourage innovation.

By teaming the hard work and dedication of faculty and staff with the help of various organizations, the school has built a comprehensive STEM program to meet the needs and match the interests of our students. Interested in programming and robotics? No problem. The students from Notre Dame High School lead an after school LEGO Robotics program for middle school students during the fall and winter. This team works together to develop creative solutions to real-world problems and competes at local competitions. Curious about how San Jose became the Silicon Valley? The fourth grade ventured to Cisco Systems to learn about the history of the Silicon Valley and see why silicon is so important in the first place. Thinking about a career in engineering? Students in 5-8 grades, have the opportunity to participate in the annual Tech Challenge hosted by The Tech Museum. This experience allows students to collaborate with peers on an engineering task to create an apparatus to solve a problem. This year Saint Martin’s own Duct Tape Warriors took home the “Most Creative Use of Materials” Award.

While these extra-curricular experiences are valuable beyond measure, it is equally important to integrate innovation into the school day. Saint Martin of Tours School has developed a learning environment that nurtures a student’s own interests while deeply exploring the required standards. The dissection-rich curriculum built by the seventh grade science teacher is the perfect place to explore a budding passion for biology. The students start the year dissecting earthworms and slowly work their way to a full frog dissection. Small, flexible math groupings at all levels allow every student to shine as they learn the material at their own pace. The monthly STEM challenges in fifth through eighth grade science classes emphasize problem solving, collaboration, and a maker spirit while adding another layer of understanding to standards based material.

Educating the young people of today for the world of tomorrow is a challenge, but it is a challenge Saint Martin of Tours School is well equipped to meet. With a strong foundation in science, technology, engineering, and math, students will be ready to embrace the future, no matter what’s trending.