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Baltimore school builds STEAM in students

Baltimore's Empowerment Academy focuses upon Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics (STEAM)
Baltimore's Empowerment Academy focuses upon Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics (STEAM)
by Vickie M. Oliver-Lawson

While most schools are focusing upon Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), there is a quiet secret being kept at one Baltimore charter school. The Empowerment Academy has an additional focus with the acronym, STEAM. The charter school, with oversight from Empowerment Center Inc., also focuses upon the arts. There is not only the usual emphasis of literacy, technology, mathematics, science and social studies, but the arts permeate every aspect of the building.

The school offers technology, drama, art, music and physical education as resources. The majority of the colorful and unusual artwork displayed throughout the building is through the creative efforts of paraprofessional Mica Johnson. Any media is encouraged, including Q-tips.

This writer had an opportunity to tour the school, Tuesday January 28, 2013 during its after school program, Learn It. Learn It Program Director, Charlotte Jackson, beamed with pride as she showed this writer all aspects of the school. Students are motivated to participate in Learn It through the use of Ipads, which are pre-loaded with science, technology and mathematics activities. . The focus for the after school program, at this time, is China. Many of the students were eager to share their new-found knowledge. One 7-year-old young man talked about the water cycle he had studied and his vast knowledge of football, while a 5-year-old little girl very eloquently described the various geometric shapes she could find in her activity.

The school has a strong focus upon professional development for its staff. Each last Wednesday of the month, students are dismissed early so that teachers can become engaged in their own learning activities focused upon student achievement for the remainder of the day.

The Empowerment Academy is located at 851 Braddish Avenue in Baltimore.
The school services students in Grades Pre-Kindergarten through Eight.

The proud principal of the school for the past ten years has been Carolyn L. Smith. She can be reached at 443-984-2381.

One of the walls at Empowerment Academy encourages students and staff, in the words of Gandhi, to 'be the change you want to see in the world'. It is obvious that the arts are making a change in lives at Empowerment Academy.

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