The Bayside STEM Academy is a public middle school (grades 6-8) in the San Mateo Foster City School District. The school uniquely combines the focus of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) with the innovative practices of Design Thinking, and offers the district's middle school GATE cluster for qualifying students. Here you can find information about:
- The school's academic offerings, including core classes and electives, at www.baysidestem.com/academics.
- Student life at the school, including clubs and after school sports, at www.baysidestem.com/studentlife.
- Parental involvement at the school, and parent resources, at www.baysidestem.com/parents.
- Current activities at our school, at our E*blast newsletter, www.baysidestem.com/eblast.
- The STEM and Design Thinking focus at the school. (below)
- How to register for the school, at www.baysidestem.com/registration.
- The GATE program at the school, at www.baysidestem.com/GATE.
School Philosophy and Focus
The Bayside STEM Academy’s dual focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines) and Design Thinking methodologies positions students and staff on an innovative academic path.
- Exposure in STEM subjects equips students for the world of tomorrow, giving them specific proficiencies in the methodologies in the various STEM fields.
- Design Thinking provides a new perspective as well as supple structure to approaching problems and challenges.
- STEM Design Thinkers experience and relate to the world differently, and as a result, the Academy’s students and staff are energized as innovators and creative problem solvers.
- While following state standards for each grade level and using state adopted texts, the Academy’s combination of STEM and Design Thinking offers methodology and disciplinary content to students and corresponding novel delivery of rigorous STEM coursework by staff.
- The school also offers a grades 6-8 Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) Program with accelerated and advanced classes for children who qualify
The STEM Approach
Bayside STEM Academy prepares students for their roles as contributing participants in the global economy. The school, with its focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) has its roots in a national quest to prepare competitive citizens for the high speed, wired, innovative, and global economy that 21st century students will inhabit as adults. STEM has its roots at MIT, the State of Ohio (STEM Learning Network), and Lockheed Martin. Thomas Friedman’s The World is Flat (2006), The National Academy of Sciences (2006), and Science and Mathematics Education Policy Advisory Council Science and Mathematics, a formula for 21st Century Success (2007), serve as rationale for efforts to implement advanced and challenging science, technology, engineering and math classes.
Design Thinkers prototype, focus on end users and test solutions. Design Thinking changes the way people approach work, studies, and everyday issues. Design Thinking is a much sought after approach in the business world, and is concurrently gaining traction across the nation in the K-12 schools and Institutes of Higher Education. It promotes innovation, collaboration, empathy, prototyping, and user-tested solutions.
The Bayside STEM program is based in some ways on the Design Thinking model developed at Stanford University’s d.school (http://dschool.stanford.edu/) "We moved from thinking of ourselves as designers to thinking of ourselves as design thinkers. We have a methodology that enables us to come up with a solution that nobody has before" (David Kelley).
Bayside STEM is the home of the district's designated middle school GATE Program. The GATE program provides special instruction, class placement, and extra curricular activities to support students’ development. (For more information on the Bayside STEM GATE program, see below and www.baysidestem.com/GATE. For overall school district GATE information, see http://www.smfc.k12.ca.us/gate.)
GATE students are intentionally grouped together during their Core classes (English Language Arts and Social Studies), Science and STEM Foundations and participate with their full grade cohort in most other academic areas. GATE students are tested and placed into for math based on their demonstrated abilities. Most are placed in pre-Algebra. GATE students are fully integrated with the other students in the context of PE and electives. GATE Explorers Club, a series of monthly family-initiated field trips, as well as a variety of clubs provide additional means of enrichment.
A Smaller Middle School Alternative
Bayside STEM is the smallest of the four middle schools in the San Mateo Foster City School District. With a student population of 500 and teaching staff of 26, students are given individual attention, guidance, and specialized grade level curriculum.
The school is served by Dr. Jeanne Elliott, principal, Christie Miller, Assistant Principal, Noreen O’Donnell, academic dean, and Anita Yepez, counselor.
Year-Round Academic Calendar
Bayside STEM academic calendar is year round. The first day of school is generally at the end of July and the last day of school is near the end of June. Students attend the same number of school days as traditional calendar schools. However, there are three breaks of three weeks each: October, Winter, Spring. Specific calendars for a given year can be found at the district website as they are established and approved (http://www.smfc.k12.ca.us/calendar)