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Clear Creek ISD expands science magnet programs

August 10, 2018

Every year, Clear Creek ISD has been turning down more than 200 science-mad students.

The science magnet lab at Seabrook Intermediate School, built in the 1990s, only had room for 115 sixth-graders out of all the kids in the district wanting to participate.

When voters approved Clear Creek ISD’s $487 million bond in 2017, part of that package included $10.3 million to create a second science magnet site at Brookside Intermediate School in Friendswood.

Construction on facilities for the program began in May. Classes in the program begin with the district’s first day of school on Aug. 20.

“Out of this last bond came a desire from the community, board of trustees and district administration to really enhance the learning opportunities for more kids,” Brookside Principal Lauren Ambeau said. “We hated to turn away 200 kids that really had a passion for science.”

The new space for study of science, technology, engineering and math consists of six classrooms and four labs.

The district will phase in the program, planning to enroll approximately 105 incoming sixth-graders this year and grow in several years to serve 300 students in a fullyfunctioning STEM program for grades 6-8.

“This really enhances the science program with what they needed to create a quality STEM program here,” Ambeau said.

STEM curriculum centers on serving intermediate-grade level students.

Brookside was the only school in the district to sustain damage throughout the campus during Hurricane Harvey last summer. So, construction of the science magnet program coincided with ongoing renovations, including replacing the flooring, doors and cabinets.

With the Brookside addition, the district will be able to expand and refine the science curriculum for STEM students, including programs that focus on science literacy, team building, development of business projects and scientific research as well as clubs for rocketry, greenhouse work, robotics and drones. Many of these programs will allow students to explore local industries related to science and technology.

“When we created the Brookside magnet course, we asked students what their strengths and interests, their passions, and we were able to create options and courses that meet their needs,” Ambeau said.

The application process and acceptance by committee into the STEM program is based largely on teacher and parent recommendation, student interviews, grades, and to a lesser degree, standardized test scores.

“We will take students that may struggle in certain subjects, but (we) want to make sure their work ethic is solid,” Ambeau said.

The district split the district in two geographic areas. Students will be enrolled in the closest STEM program. According to Ambeau, this year, Brookside received 270 applications, Seabrook had 300; so the demand still exceeds available spots at both locations.

“I’m looking forward to enrolling additional students at Brookside. I’m very excited that have an obvious and strong passion for science and excited to provide some unique opportunities that that student would not get at other campuses,” Ambeau said. “We firmly believe to really engage kids you have to start with their strengths and interests. Magnet programs like these allow us to do that and through that, students build confidence and we end up being able to help them grow.”

Applications for district science magnet programs are due at the end of January for the following school year. In mid-December and early January, the district hosts science magnet parent meetings in mid-December and early January.

Bus transportation is provided for magnet students outside of the Brookside and Seabrook attendance zones, according to a district spokesperson Sidney Hunt. But families of program students living inside the attendance zones of each campus must provide their own transportation, she said.

Brookside Intermediate is at 3535 E FM 528 Road in Friendswood. For more information on the STEM program, visit https://bit.ly/2M96htt

Yorozco@hcnonline.com

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