Where is the STEM Academy @ River District located?

STEM Academy @ River District is located at Irma Marsh Middle School

Can I attend STEM if I live in a neighboring school district?

Yes, you will need to apply for an Out of District Transfer.

Will transportation be provided?

Yes, there are buses routes for students in the Castleberry ISD borders.

Who can apply for the Academy?  

Any 5th grade student in Castleberry ISD or an Out of District Student who has applied for an Out of District Transfer can apply. The applications will close at the assigned date.  At that time, applications will be screened with the STEM Academy rubric.  

When can I apply for STEM?

Applications open in the fall of each year and close several weeks after. Applications will reopen in the spring if there are available spots.

Will the STEM classes be more difficult for my child?

Possibly.  The goal of the STEM academy is to prepare learners for College success, and to spark interest in careers in STEM.  In order to best prepare students, all courses will be part of Advanced Academics, which means that it is a college preparatory approach. Therefore, if your student has difficulties in academics, they might find STEM Academy to be challenging. However, the classroom approach will be different that what they may be used to, so it is possible that they'll be having so much fun, they won't mind working harder!

Why is Project Based Learning being used?  What will their homework be like?

Project Based Learning will provide students with opportunities to build communication, collaboration, academic, and problem-solving skills, all of which will help to develop a very well-rounded student, ready for both college and the workforce. Homework will probably look very different for their STEM classes. Some nights students will be reading an article or watching a recorded lesson on a topic so they can be prepared for the next day. There may be some afternoons that students will need to work together on their group assignments, so expect either some google hangouts, or possibly time at the school library.  PBL activities tend to be very creative, so expect your child to be doing some exciting (and sometimes messy) creating!

My child wants to be in athletics (or band, or mariachi, or choir, etc) and I'm afraid they won't be able to do both STEM and their extracurricular activity.  What will happen?

We are going to work very hard to make schedules work so students will be able to participate in as many different school activities as they wish. There may come a time later on that a student may have a conflict, and will need to choose whether to continue in the STEM Academy, or continue with another activity. This will be a family decision.  While we will work to create as many solutions as possible, sometimes it simply will not work out. Rest assured that this will be a rare occasion, and his or her school counselors will try to help in any way possible.

Can a student be removed from the STEM Academy?

Yes. If a student violates the Student Code of Conduct, and administration decides that continuing in the Academy would not be in the best interest of the student, then the student may be removed from participation. Or, if a student is unsuccessful in the environment, a Student Support meeting will be held. This will include the student, parents, teachers, and administrators. This committee may determine that it is best for the student to return to a traditional classroom.  When possible, schedule changes will occur at the end of a marking period or semester, depending on the involved courses.

My child receive services through Special Education, or through 504. Does this mean he or she cannot participate?

Students will not be excluded from participating in the STEM Academy based on any disability. The Academy is open to all. ARD committees and 504 committees will need to discuss whether or not the student's educational needs can be met in the STEM Academy, and if any changes to their plan should be made to ensure that appropriate supports are in place.  Please keep in mind that behavioral expectations for students in the STEM Academy will be very high.  Much of the technology being used will require great care.  If a student has difficulty with regulating their own behavior, this might be an extremely challenging environment for him or her. If you have questions about your specific situation, please feel free to reach out to Stephanie Martinez at [email protected] or to your child's Case Worker or School Counselor.

If you have a question that was not addressed here, or throughout the site, please send an email to Stephanie Martinez at [email protected]