In the fall of 2015, Johnson STEAM Academy opened up as Cedar Rapids Community School District’s first magnet school. Magnet schools have a focused theme: Johnson STEAM Academy’s theme is STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics).
Johnson has a long-standing tradition of providing art-infused instruction, including music lessons and after-school enrichments in the arts. When we transitioned to a magnet school, we did not want to lose our arts focus; therefore, we decided to become a STEAM magnet school rather than a STEM magnet. Magnet schools use a “hands-on, minds-on” approach to learning using state and district standards, but varying the delivery of instruction by teaching the standards within a theme.
Johnson STEAM Academy provides an innovative learning environment for children and another choice for parents. JSA infuses project-based STEAM into all aspects of learning. Teachers and students interact across age ranges and throughout the school and community via integrated, authentic projects. Students are encouraged to pursue their passions and interests, allowing teachers to utilize that powerful force to teach the children the critical content and concepts they need to move forward. The design process is used throughout a variety of subjects.
Johnson STEAM Academy is a member of Magnet Schools of America, a national nonprofit professional education association whose members are schools and school districts. The association represents and is a resource to magnet schools, parents, teachers, school boards, administrators, business leaders, community organizations, and institutions of higher education.
Science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM) education is an approach to learning in which STEM education principles are taught through intentional connections to the arts disciplines. Students demonstrate innovative and critical thinking and problem-solving through experiential and inquiry-based learning. This provides multiple access points for students to engage in the creative process and meet standards and objectives in all subjects.
Infusion of creative and self-aware studies with STEM engages the whole child and fosters higher achievement in all educational areas. Integrating STEAM disciplines encourages students to think more broadly about real-world problems and effectively prepares students for success in work and life.