Riverview fifth-graders share samples of a mock “genetic sample.” Groups shared samples with each other, and at the end of a trade a drop of solution was added to determine if they had been “infected.”

Academic Pillar:

STEAM challenge gets Pegasus students thinking

Posted January 29, 2018

Riverview Middle School fifth-graders recently conducted labs and then imagined the future as part of a Wisconsin Future Problem Solving contest.

The students, in the Pegasus program taught by Jessica Barrington, had to write a story set at least 20 years in the future regarding one of five proposed topics: bio security, infectious disease, toxic materials, cloud storage, and disorders. They also had to create a plausible solution to their chosen topic.

To prepare for the assignment, students participated in mini-lessons on each topic as well as two labs regarding infectious disease and bio security.

The first lab was predicting the most germ-infested items in school, swabbing them, and growing bacteria cultures. The second lab explored how an epidemic spreads and how to determine the original carrier of the disease.

Providing more of this type of STEAM – Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math – activity is one of the initiatives called for by the district Academic Excellence for the 21st Century Pillar strategic plan.

The Board of Education has established four Pillars of Excellence – Academic Excellence, Extracurriculars, Community Engagement, and Financial Responsibility – as key principles that distinguish the district and advance its mission. Each Pillar has a strategic plan that identifies desired Future States and initiatives for the next three years.

The overarching goal of the Academic Excellence Pillar is for students to learn to apply knowledge and skills consistent with the ever-evolving 21st century. The desired Future States are:

  • All students are prepared to enter post high school education in order to find personal success in a global society.
  • All physical learning environments in the district are exemplary.
  • District teachers, teacher leaders, staff and administrators are of the highest quality and deeply committed to our common mission for children.

To move closer to those Future States, the 2017-18 Academic Excellence strategies include:

  • Implement Food Science & Agriculture Center curricula and facility improvements determined in 2016-17 assessment process - continue K-12 FSAC and Garden, Agriculture, Nutrition, and Outdoor based curricula integration.
  • Extend high-level published works throughout curricular areas and grade bands.
  • Every school will develop and take action on "Literacy" goals to improve student achievement in literacy - goals will be measurable and tracked.
  • Implement STEAM curricula K-8 Develop Innovation and Entrepreneurial Learning Center/Curriculum.
  • Implement additional/refine arts offerings.
  • Develop Additional Cum Laude offerings and implement Technical Math.
  • Complete facilities study and follow through on internal planning and community input to maintain and improve facilities.
  • Revise and improve marketing of District Report Card.
  • Inspire and grow all staff through professional learning, i.e. PDC, workshops, graduate classes and master’s degree opportunities
  • Support graduates leading approved initiatives across the district - Third Cohort shall commence
  • Attract teachers, staff, and administrators leveraging district framework, culture, benefits and potential for growth and inspiration. Support a successful implementation of the leadership cohort.

Learn more:
Read an article about our promotional videos and other initiatives of the Financial Responsibility Pillar.
Read an article about our new calendar and scheduling system and other initiatives of the Community Engagement Pillar.
Read an article about the new Riverview Intramural program and other initiatives of the Extracurriculars Pillar.
Visit the Pillars of Excellence page to learn more about all four Pillars of Excellence.
• Visit the Extracurriculars section of our District Report Card to learn more about our unparalleled array of extracurricular options.