At Chartwell you will often hear faculty referring to strengths and stretches as qualities within our students. For example, students must stretch themselves and apply patience, tenacity, and hard work as they learn skills and strategies applied in subjects such as structured literacy and mathematics. While our faculty practice unique multidisciplinary and sensory methods teaching these subjects, they remain typically difficult areas for our students.
Our STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) programs exist to celebrate and grow the strengths and creative interests and potential of our students. These classes, units and cross-curricular activities are designed to leverage many of the inherent abilities within our students. Consider these characteristic shared among students with learning challenges at Chartwell, as shared within our Teacher Training Institute:
- Enhanced spatial awareness, the ability to manipulate 3D shapes in one’s mind
- Lateral processing, offering unique strategies to rapid problem solving
- “Thinking in pictures” rather than words, identifying and remembering complex images
- Ability to see how things connect to form complex systems, and to identify similarities among multiple things (pattern recognition)
- Strong tendency towards entrepreneurship and creative advocacy or agency
Our faculty within the STEAM department prioritize these aspects of our Chartwell learners while designing powerful and stimulating experiences for students.
Our philosophy of creating engaging, purposeful, multi-sensory and hands-on learning is applied across all divisions.
STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) projects are the perfect vehicle to light up and challenge our students' brains. This year, students have been engaging in division-level STEAM days. Each division is given an age-appropriate challenge and small teams of students work together to create solutions.
With our continued partnership with Plus Ultra Robotics, Chartwell students now have access to First Lego League (FLL) Explore for ages 6-10, FLL Challenge for ages 9-14, FTC for ages 12-18, and finally FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) for ages 14-18.
Earlier this year, science teacher Garrett Rowe decided to make learning about the universe more accessible and engaging for his middle and high school students. He transformed his classroom into a glow-in-the-dark night sky.
In Computer Science (CS) class, students are able to survey concepts, skills and strategies, fields, and careers. At the end of the course, they will choose a project to demonstrate their learning and newly-found passion for one area of CS.
For their fourth project period of the year, high school students are studying marine ecology. The field experiences have included a guided tour through the Elkhorn Slough Marine Sanctuary, tidepooling at Natural Bridges in Santa Cruz, and a whale watching excursion on the Monterey Bay. The period will culminate with final project presentations. Photo by Gabe Aquino, Grade 11
To supplement our students’ passions in STEAM, we offer many extracurricular programs and experiences for our community:
- Competitive FIRST Robotics teams
- Lower school clubs
- Middle & high school STEAM electives
- Field experiences in all divisions
Dedicated Learning Spaces
Our campus offers unique learning spaces that support our STEAM program, including:
- 60 acres of varied habitats on which to learn natural sciences, including coast live oak, coastal scrub, mixed annual and perennial grassland
- Large school garden, along with an orchard and pollinator garden
- Makerspace and Digital Lab, which include tools such as AR/VR devices, 3D printers, soldering and other fabrication tools, woodshop tools and more
- Arts classroom and ceramics studio