Levine Pushing Aggressively with Strong STEM Programming
Courtney Hensel

We are thrilled to report on our strong STEM-infused programming this year -- it's happening in science, in our new electives, throughout the curriculum, and for our robotics programs.

This year we have two amazing robotics programs -- a national competition team as a facet of our Middle School elective program, in addition to robotics incorporated into our new STEMScopes curriculum in grades two through eight.

Our Middle School Robotics elective, taught by 7th / 8th Grade Science teacher Helene Berke, is a partnership with CIJE (Center for Initiatives in Jewish Education). Students are preparing for their upcoming competition in New York City scheduled for this December. Our teams will follow the VEX Robotics Competition platform, whereby students will design and build a robot to play against other teams in a game-based engineering challenge.

In addition, Levine also purchased a new curriculum, STEMscopes, which makes use of robotics throughout the grades. Levine acquired 12 XEXIQ robots that will be housed in our Makerspace, which is undergoing a full renovation and will soon feature many exciting enhancements. Lower School students in grades two through four will receive exposure to this wonderful curriculum during science/STEM time with our STEM Coordinator, Jackie Kirkendall.

And plans are underway to take STEM, robotics, and environmental studies to the next level. Last week, Levine's leadership team toured the new Winn Science Center at St. Mark's School of Texas. K8 Principal Liz Lawlor, STEM Coordinator Jackie Kirkendall, and Head of School Tom Elieff visited the center's greenhouse and makerspace, to pick up ideas on what is new and how to better engage our students. Levine is also looking to collaborate with St. Mark's on learning projects that will involve the new planetarium.

A significant portion of the new 75,000 square foot science facility at St. Mark's is named after our very own EC Science Discovery Center teacher Stephanie Barta, a colleague of Mr. Elieff when he served there as Head of Upper School. Ms. Barta was the long-serving chair of the science department while at St. Mark's, and her name is above the entrance to the biology and environmental science wing.

Ms. Barta designs and teaches our Early Childhood science curriculum for our youngest students -- our two's, three's, and pre-kindergarten students. Thanks to Ms. Barta, our EC Science Discover Center prepares our students to love science while gaining experience with the scientific process as they transition to our K8 program.

Levine Academy is also researching and cultivating other local partnerships, including with area universities, to continue its momentum as a national model school in the arena of STEM and beyond. Stay tuned for more news on Levine's science/STEM initiatives in the future.