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The Student News Site of Klein Collins High School

Legacy Press

The Student News Site of Klein Collins High School

Legacy Press

The Student News Site of Klein Collins High School

Legacy Press

District Plans to Integrate Arts into Education


UPDATE: Boosting the STEAM initiative, Klein ISD has been selected among 23 school districts to take part in the Texas High Performance Schools Consortium (THPSC).

“The school districts selected to participate in the consortium are already known for their innovative work and are looked to by many as educational leaders,” Texas Commissioner of Education Michael L. Williams said. “This exciting project will help the Governor, legislative leaders and the Texas Education Agency craft a sound, well-thought out plan to move all Texas schools to the next performance level.”

The THPSC’s main goals range from engaging students in digital learning, using varied assessments to keep track of student learning, focus learning standards and relying on local control. The district’s specific goals include applying digital and online learning and further promoting the STEAM movement.


The district will be integrating the arts into traditional curriculum in order to provide students with a more well-rounded education, beginning in 2014.

Originating from No Child Left Behind, the district’s current curriculum reflects STEM, which focuses on science, technology, engineering and math in order to prepare students for technology-oriented careers. However, with recent studies showing the importance of the right brain, the district will be reworking the curriculum in order to incorporate art and hands-on learning into education, adding the A to make STEAM out of STEM.

“Many writers spoke to the importance of STEM education, but also the need to take it one step further,” Director of Fine Arts Monte Mast said. “As a result, there has been a push to incorporate the left brain skills in STEM with the right brain skills of design, aesthetics and affective experience, adding the arts to create STEAM. Instead of teaching these elements in isolation, the integration in and through the curriculum should allow students relevancy and practical application of theoretical concepts.”

According to Mast, the proposed liberal-arts-style education will enable students to be successful beyond the classroom. Comparing the plan to Apple’s marriage of design and technology in the iPhone, Mast said he thinks STEAM exemplifies the most beneficial education for students.

“As a former band director, I love seeing my former students become successful musicians as well as practicing lawyers or members of the medical profession,” Mast said. “The district’s goal is that all students become successful members of society in whatever profession they decide to pursue. To achieve that goal, the district needs to provide students with the knowledge and skills to be successful.”

The district currently has a development team creating a curriculum that successfully teaches these skills. According to Mast, the curriculum will not be officially written until recent changes in the TEKS are approved by the State Board of Education. However, while key details remain undecided, the district has set basic plans for STEAM resources, including the STEAM Express. Imitating the district’s Reading Express, the STEAM Express will be a technology-equipped RV, traveling to each campus.

“The STEAM Express will have a year-round focus and although the plans are in the very early stages, the idea is to have a certified teacher on the Steam Express and have it visit our campuses daily,” Assistant Superintendant for Communications and Planning Judy Rimato said.

The brainchild of the Klein Education Foundation, the STEAM Express will be funded through the district’s 75th anniversary events. It has not yet been decided what will be on the STEAM Express. Combined with the integrated education, Mast said the STEAM Express will allow students to enrich skills necessary for succeeding in the professional world. Described by Partnership 21st Century Skills as communication, collaboration, creativity and innovation, Mast said he believes it is the district’s job to teach students these skills.

“These are skills that the business community and private sector say that their prospective employees need to have to be successful,” Mast said. “If that is what they need then that is what our graduates will need to be successful.”

The district is planning to implement STEAM education into high schools in 2014, gradually filtering the education concepts into lower grades. The change will be district-wide, not focusing on one school in particular.

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