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Salamanca High School Wins International Award in STEM Excellence | tidings




SALAMANCA High School Salamanca is a recipient of the STEM Excellence Award from the International Association of Technology and Engineering Educators.

The award is presented to outstanding schools for their commitment to providing a robust STEM integration education program.

To receive this assessment, the high school underwent a rigorous criterion evaluation process (29), said High School Principal Christopher Siebert. Assessment of areas such as number of STEM career paths, quality of STEM contact projects and total advanced STEM degrees held by staff members, and Salamanca is the first New York high school to hold this title.

Salamanca City Central School District launched its K-12 STEAM Initiative in 2015, to build 21st century workplace skills and narrow achievement gaps.

At that time our district decided to change its approaches to how and what students would learn, said Superintendent Robert Breidenstein. Part of this plan included investments in science, technology, engineering, art and math, or STEAM education.

The high school STEAM program first gained recognition in the 2017-18 school year, when the Robotic Warriors team loaded their makeshift motorcycle robot, to compete in the FRC Finger Lakes Regional Regional Competition.

We were competing against season teams that had been doing this for about 20 years, said high school senior Connor Klute. I will never forget the overwhelming and memorable excitement that first year when we were called for that award.

The new club ranked 26th and took home the Rookie Seed Award for their innovative robot design.

Students at the Space Flight Experimental Club then received a regional accolade, where they submitted an experiment proposal to be facilitated by scientists at the International Space Station.

We proposed investigating Arthrospira Platensis because of its use in the treatment of radiation sickness, an issue in outer space, as well as lowering blood pressure and lowering cholesterol, said Aliyah Lee, 11th grade, which is also active in the new STEAM ESports Club, a competitive school sports game for video games and technology exploration. Arthrospira is also rich in vitamins, beta-carotene, antioxidants, minerals and essential fatty acids.

Salamanca was further applauded by officials for the STEAM-Adventure Camp focused on its sustainability, a summer school program that helped the high school earn a High School Moving designation from the WNY STEM Center in 2019.

One of the goals of our STEAM summer school program is to help bridge the gap between school and summer, said Aaron Straus, District Coordinator for STEAM. These added experiences allow them to get excited about the various Science and Technology points they may see or choose to take during the school year.

N IN 2019, the district approved the WozEd K-12 Pathway curriculum and drone kits, 3D coding and printing for district curricula, which strengthened students’ technical skills in product design.

For the past few years, our teachers have incorporated STEAM-based learning across the K-12 spectrum and developed a solid curriculum, said Dr. Mark D. Beehler, Deputy Supervisor of Salamanca. But after trying out the Woz Ed STEAM kits, our educators realized the value in implementing this comprehensive solution.

That same year, Salamanca High School students competed in the Nanoline Project Competition by teleconference with judges and other teams at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania, before the pandemic forced schools to practice distance learning. The students created a driving simulator that incorporated Phoenix Contact Nanoline PLC technology.

After six weeks of intensive design and troubleshooting of a working prototype, we competed at Nanoline and were awarded the Engineering Excellence Award, said 2019 senior Kohl Ambuske. The STEAM program has expanded my knowledge and given me a sense of curiosity about how things work.

The High School Robotic Warriors team returned to the FRC, this time for an international competition in Quebec City, Canada, and took home another award.

Although we were not technically newcomers, it was only our second year, said senior Cole Johnson. We were shocked again when we were awarded the 2019 Creativity Award.

The high school also continued to support their Distributed Education Clubs of America (DECA) program with students competing against peers, from around the world.

DECA prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools and colleges across the globe, said business teacher Nancy Middaugh.

Seven Salamanca High School students participated in the DECA International Competition, which assesses students’ ability to speak, present, and work in a collaborative 21st century team. Salamanca senior Nyles Panus was a finalist for the international competition. Moreover, three Salamanca high school students were inducted into the New York DECA honorary society.

In 2019, High School and Prospect Elementary were again recognized by the WNY STEM Hub as a Moving School during the agencys annual awards reception. The elementary school, having just started its STEAM nutrition program, won a Schools on the Move Engaged award, like the high school in previous years. Salamanca High School, meanwhile, earned an advanced entry in the award section.

These moving schools illustrate a focus on STEM by exciting students for learning and career at STEM, said WNY Executive Director STEM Hubs.

The high school then went on to take home a national STEM housing at the Future of Education Conference (FETC) in Miami, Fla., On integrating 3D printing, Engineering Design & Advanced Technology into non-STEM subjects.

Our program reflects a great deal of dedication and hard work from many people, including Salamanca High School students, educators, and parents in the larger Cattaraugus community, Straus said.

HIGH SALAMANCA The school further attracted attention in 2020 from non-educational professionals for its programmatic applications on the eve of the COVID pandemic.

In March, New York State was crowned the epicenter of the US coronavirus outbreak. At the time, doctors, nurses and first responders reported terrible shortages of protective equipment. The regional Department of Health announced that the Emergency Services Office was receiving donations of handmade masks to be distributed to health care workers and members of the community in need.

Like many districts across the nation, our district was closed and the school was on a remote education plan, Straus said. Deeply concerned by national news and seeing an opportunity for the program to help, we asked the district administration to leave a small team at our STEAM Center to produce protective equipment on 3D printers in person and remotely. Our team got OK on March 30, 2020 and the next day, college students and those far away were typing their face masks and shields for the first answers.

Along with this, the Salamancas STEAM program creatively implemented GIS mapping and mobile Wi-Fi technology to help solve another problem that arose as a result of the pandemic.

The STEAM program worked with district officials to help identify, map, and prioritize home Internet distribution for area students who were without a broadband Internet connection during the pandemic, Straus said, and to coordinate the acquisition and distribution of 90 4G Wi-Fi devices, which were distributed to remote Salamanca families who lacked direct cable management.

This led the New York State School Board Association to award Salamanca High Schools STEAM Center a nationwide title of Champions of Change, an honorary title given to a New York school district for a school year.

The Salamancas student body consists of over 37% of the indigenous population and 64% of the district is economically disadvantaged. More than half of the high school students participating in the STEAM program are from economies or households underrepresented in the STEM professions.

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