What is a STEAM Education?

STEAM Education at Jesuit High School

Jesuit High School of Sacramento provides young men with an academically rigorous college preparatory education and prepares graduates for lives of leadership and service. One of the ways that we prepare our students for their future careers is by offering STEAM courses. STEAM curriculum is designed to enhance education in five specific disciplines: science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics. 

STEAM courses equip students with relevant skills for the workplace of the future. Jesuit’s STEAM opportunities help students deepen their understanding of traditional subjects and explore emerging 21st-century technologies, all with the goal of forming competent, conscientious young men who can one day serve as leaders in their chosen fields and in their communities. Freshmen in the Class of 2023 will be the first Marauders eligible to take the new Introduction to Computer Science elective course, adding to the rich tradition and excellence of Jesuit’s STEAM offerings.

How is a STEAM education different?

The key idea behind a STEAM course is integration. Rather than teach each subject separately, STEAM focuses on interdisciplinary, applied studies. STEAM classes educate students in core scientific principles and key concepts fundamental to a wide range of disciplines and teach them to apply those principles to actual situations. This unique three-dimensional, inquiry-based style of learning offers complex challenges and teaches students to practice the knowledge they have acquired.

The project-based format of STEAM education emphasizes active problem-solving skills. In a STEAM class, students tackle real-world problems using relevant, applicable knowledge. Students are tasked to investigate a problem that can be solved through design. There is no set answer—students are encouraged to invent their own creative solutions. Putting theory into practice clarifies the relevance of the disciplines the students use in solving the problem. Students who take STEAM classes are able to observe direct results rather than studying abstract theories. 

History of STEAM

The acronym “STEM” was first coined in 2001 by Dr. Judith Ramalay, director of the National Science Foundation’s education and human resources division. National leaders were concerned about keeping the United States technologically competitive with other countries. Thirteen agencies joined together to promote stronger education in math and science. Since its inception, STEM has evolved into STEAM, including an A for the arts. Nearly all Nobel laureates in science also practice some form of art, proving that these two seemingly disparate courses of study are connected by the perspective of creative problem-solving. 

In 2009, the Obama administration issued a plan supporting more STEM education in schools, with the hope of sparking students’ interest in careers in science and technology. “This is our generation’s Sputnik moment,” he said. The program was met with great success, and the Trump administration has carried on the legacy. In November of 2019, the U.S. Department of Education announced that it invested nearly $540 million to support STEM education that year. This initiative intends to create expanded opportunities in high-demand career fields.

The future of STEAM

The demand for employees with a STEAM education continues to increase rapidly. In 2014, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that jobs in STEAM-related careers are expected to increase to over nine million by 2022. Demand is especially high for staff with innovative skills in computing and traditional engineering. We are at the beginning of the fourth industrial revolution, and a STEAM education prepares today’s students for jobs that haven’t even been invented yet. 

STEAM education prepares students for the knowledge-based economy of the future. At Jesuit High School of Sacramento, we offer advanced preparation STEAM courses in biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, and computer science. Contact us or visit our Sacramento campus to learn more.