New STEAM Elective System Replaces Previous Electives For Freshman

The new MHS Co-Lab was opened this past year and now holds all STEM centered electives.
The new MHS Co-Lab was opened this past year and now holds all STEM centered electives.
Luke Franzese

This year, MHS introduced a new elective system for the current freshmen. In years prior, the list of offered electives included Design, Art, Photo, Video, Engineering, Computer Science, Architecture, Culinary and Music. However, the Design, Engineering, Computer Science, and Architecture electives have now been condensed into one STEAM elective course, raising significant controversy.  Rather than experiencing a full-year elective, freshmen in STEAM now rotate between these four traditional electives every six weeks. 

Although this class format would allow students to experience a wide array of coursework, it provokes controversy over whether STEAM is sufficient in giving students the proper knowledge and skills to make the jump to the second year course. Is six weeks enough when four other electives get a full year? 

High school, for many students, is the place to get a more general learning scope and navigate through different course areas before narrowing their area of focus in a major or minor system in college. For students who have no idea what they want to do in life, or who are still discovering their main interests, STEAM could allow them to experience an introduction to a few pathways that they could then explore more deeply for the rest of their high school career. 

This remains especially true considering that an eighth-grader, yet to even step foot in the highschool, likely hasn’t discovered their niche interests or passions. However, for students that have found a subject that speaks to them, is the STEAM system an effective way to provide these students with the education and experience they deserve? 

For students who have a strong interest in a singular focus of the STEAM elective, the course limits their elective options and can take away from a full experience in the field they are passionate about. Design, architecture, computer science, and engineering are no longer offered as individual electives, so the implementation of STEAM shortens these dedicated pathways for students. Rather than being able to take a full year of Design, for example, students will have to go through three other electives in order to reach Design 2 the following year. 

Globe Staff posit that there is a perfect solution: offering STEAM in addition to the full-year, entry-level courses that STEAM has absorbed. There is no harm in broadening the options for incoming freshmen, as it gives them more freedom and opportunities for the future. For those who do not know what they wish to pursue, STEAM could be the perfect fit, but for students who are eager and devoted to taking a specific elective, it would be only fair to retain all eight elective options. STEAM is a great addition to the high school curriculum that provides an alternate pathway for students who are still curious and on the fence about course customization; however, without design, architecture, engineering and computer science offered individually, students are cut off from opportunities that they may be interested in.

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