While students from Catholic schools consistently outperform their peers in public schools, we are raising the bar to keep our competitive edge. Across the US, business leaders are having difficulty finding enough talent to stay competitive. Our children need to be able to inquire, think, investigate and innovate to succeed. STREAM will help prepare our students for successful careers in a 21st century workforce. 


Is STREAM a significant change or just an acronym to bring us all together?
Following STREAM principles doesn’t mean we are changing the subject matter taught in our school, but if we do it well, it will mean big changes in how we teach and students learn. Multiple subjects in a grade will be integrated to culminate in hands-on, problem solving activities to cement the knowledge, make school more fun and show its applicability with our lives.

Supposedly, the curriculum won’t change in terms of subjects taught, but aren’t we going to focus more on science, math and technology?
ACS curriculum still follows the overall guidance of the Diocese of Phoenix elementary schools and meets requirements of state and national standards. However, we will utilize the STREAM focus to teach more integrated class subjects as well as emphasize critical and creative thinking skills which results in hands-on accomplishments.


Over the longer run, shouldn't we expect the curriculum to be altered some?

Yes, in a fast-paced, ever-changing society, schools and school systems must expect the curriculum to change over time to prepare students for future work and future lives. Of course, as school administrators and teachers, we are always looking to find ways to improve our programs. The movement toward a focus on engineering and design principals and computer programming is an example of the curriculum being modified to meet the STREAM model.


There is only so much time in the school day. If we are using time for STREAM activities, how much time can we take from the existing schedule and still follow our curriculum?


STREAM isn't an add-on to the curriculum, so it doesn't require an add-on to time. It is a re-organization of how the curriculum is delivered, so it only needs a re-organization of schedules, not extra time. For example, right now you might spend an hour teaching science, an hour at computer lab, and an hour on math. In the STREAM model you will teach the same science, computer and math, but you will integrate them and perhaps spend 3 hours per day on an in-depth project that incorporates the same math, science and tech standards that you used to teach separately. It's not teaching different stuff; it's teaching the same stuff differently.


When I look into STREAM principles, I am often guided to STEM high schools for examples. Are we trying to guide our students to STEM high schools?
Yes, because all high schools are moving toward the STEM model, including our Catholic high schools.

Xavier is designated a "Model School for STEAM." See this link: Our girls attended the Girls Have IT Day last spring and are registered for this year. Bourgade is also exploring ways to incorporate STEM/STREAM principles, and we are exploring a partnership with Bourgade that will pair their students with ours and their teachers with ours, all focused on the principals of STREAM. This movement is getting big in our Catholic High Schools and we can be one of the first K-8 schools to join/lead the movement.


Would being a STREAM school impact the design of a new school building?

Definitely. Classrooms could be arranged so that students can sit and work in groups. This encourages collaboration as students discuss their work and challenge each other’s ideas. Classroom seating next to work spaces, with flexible moving furniture (e.g. labs for science subject adjoining the classroom with white boards and video projection all over) would be a desirable characteristic.

When will ACS be a STREAM school?
We will begin implementing the full school model next fall with changes across the grades and across the curriculum. Becoming a STREAM school will be a 3-5 year process, not an immediate change.


Is STREAM part of Common Core Standards?

Common Core Standards are college-and career-ready standards for kindergarten through 12th grade in English language arts and mathematics, that were constructed by State education chiefs of 48 states. They are designed to ensure that students graduating from high school are prepared to take credit-bearing introductory courses in college or enter the workforce. One should expect that most quality schools are already doing the things contained in these standards. Common Core will likely end up as minimum standards for a good program.


Does STREAM relate to the English process of separating young students in elementary schools according to their knowledge, aptitude and skills?

No. That practice is called tracking or “streaming,” but the use of the root word “stream” in that instance has no relation to our use of the acronym STREAM. It is not a goal or strategy of STEM/STREAM schools to track students on career courses from elementary school. In fact, a characteristic of STREAM is to improve the educational and career opportunities of ALL students and increase participation in STEM subjects amongst the groups typically underrepresented in those fields.


How will STREAM implementation affect my tuition?

It won’t. The first 15 months has already been funded through private donations. Beyond the implementation phase, STREAM costs will be partly assimilated within the operating budget and also be funded through community partnerships, donations and foundation grants.

Will there be "out-of-pocket" expenses that parents will incur? What can I expect to budget for this?

There are no anticipated out-of-pocket costs for parents.

Will all teachers and staff be STREAM trained? What does that look like? How will it happen?

Many of our talented teachers already possess the skills and training needed to implement a STREAM model.  Beginning this spring and over the next few years, all of our teachers will receive on-going, innovative training in Technology Integration, Principles of STEM/STREAM, Engineering Design Process, Project-based, group learning, and eventually STEM Certification. Training will be provided in a variety of ways: in-house (teacher to teacher), outside consultants brought in, and courses through colleges/universities. We are exploring a partnership with a local university to provide the courses that will lead to STEM certification.

As parent, I would like to be an active participant in any STREAM activities. Is this possible?

Not just possible, but hoped for. Some ways that parents can actively participate in STREAM are: assist with identifying and securing business/community partnerships, lead after school clubs aligned with STREAM, participate in STREAM field trips, brainstorm funding sources, and act as guest speakers to align the real world with classroom learning.

How does STREAM work in classrooms where student learning capabilities and student knowledge is diverse?
A main benefit of STEM/STREAM learning models is that it is naturally individualized. With project-based collaborative work each child is able to work to their potential. The lower ability students are provided assistance from their more advanced peers. The more advanced students are able to perform beyond the minimum expectation because there is no “end” to what can be done in an inquiry-based, project-based model.

Will there be faculty STREAM discussions around curriculum mapping to prevent overlap and repeat subject matter from year to year?

Yes! Teachers will meet at least monthly to share what they are doing and what they are planning. All STREAM learning activities must be aligned with the diocesan curriculum so there isn’t overlap or gaps.

If I have a potential business partner that could help with STREAM implementation, how do I go about introducing them to ACS?

Call Sharon.

If my child graduates from ACS, will their diploma have a special STREAM certification?

At this time there is no STREAM certification for students, but we can certainly acknowledge our school as a STREAM School on the paper diploma.

Who determines a school is STREAM or not? Is there an oversight council or guidelines we need to meet?

NCEA has provided a model for STREAM education, but they have not yet developed specific criteria and a process for formally identifying schools. We are following a model being successfully implemented by 10 schools in the Diocese of Buffalo, which is based on the NCEA model.

Is this a program that is here to stay?

The STEM/STREAM movement is definitely here to stay. It has been building and strengthening for nearly a decade. The STREAM model is rooted in what have been called “Best Practices” in education for 30 years. Also, STEM is definitely where elementary schools, high schools, and universities are headed nationwide, and the future job market is certainly focused in the STEM/STREAM direction. The only way to do STREAM is to do it for the long-term.

How does STREAM fit with the enrichment classes?

STREAM is exactly what Enrichment classes are all about. It’s a perfect fit. Enrichment will continue with more focus on the engineering design process and other application skills in math and science.

Will we look for any special qualifications related to STREAM when we hire new teachers?


Are we offering after school activities and summer school programs/camps for STREAM?

Yes, those types of programs are in the plan for Phase 2.

What websites or books do you recommend for parents to learn more about STREAM?

There are no books about STREAM.

The NCEA website has a STREAM section:

Saints Peter & Paul School in Buffalo has a good STREAM site:

There are many, many websites about STEM and STEM related programs. Here are a few: