The RIO S.T.E.A.M. ACADEMY (RSA) has been in the planning stages for the last four years. Since 2012, the Rio School District has engaged and embraced new 21st century directions in curriculum, instruction, and technology integration. Rio has focused on developing the 5 Cs of 21st century learning; collaboration, communication, critical thinking, creativity, and caring while working to enhance student literacy skills in reading, writing, mathematics, and technology. In doing so, we have begun to innovate around transdisciplinary learning that springs from driving questions and that engage all the subject areas with a focus on S.T.E.A.M. topics and concepts. S.T.E.A.M. incorporates Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics in inquiry led, project- based learning.
While Rio’s eight existing schools are engaging new S.T.E.A.M. curriculum and instruction as well as new technology, equipment and facilities modifications, the RIO S.T.E.A.M. ACADEMY (RSA) is the first fully designed S.T.E.A.M. school in the District and perhaps Ventura County at large.
RSA will be a K-8 school that invites parents and students interested in the K-8 experience to consider enrollment. RSA will be a school focused on S.T.E.A.M. learning, inquiry led, project-based learning that is hands-on, minds-on and student centered. Students attending RSA will engage with curriculum and learning activities that de-emphasize grade level norms while encouraging multi-age interactions, individualized and differentiated learning, and whole school projects and initiatives.
RSA will engage with S.T.E.A.M. curriculum specifically focused on its unique location in time, space, and place. This will engage all learners in multi-year learning focused on the sun, the land, the air, and the water system that is the Santa Clara River Riparian system. RSA students will engage learning in their classrooms, in maker-spaces, and in outdoor learning spaces designed to flow seamlessly during and after the school day. Architects from A4E (Architects for Education) have worked collaboratively with staff and community to create a design that incorporates the most innovative and modern technology and design with the practical logistics of basic school functions. Experts from the fields of environment, biology, physics, hydrology, arts, and Chumash cosmology have contributed to RSA’s design ideas.
RSA is designed in a physical sense as well as a functional sense to develop over time as the teachers, students, administration, and community collaborate to create what a full S.T.E.A.M. curriculum and facility can provide students and the community at large. RSA aims to prepare students for academic achievement, career readiness, social and personal development. RSA curriculum and instruction will maximize the integration of technology, gamified learning, design-making, and collaborative project based learning in order to provide students deep and connected learning contexts.
RSA will adopt a curricular approach that provides opportunities for classroom culture development simultaneously to individual differentiation and multi-age interactions and mentoring. RSA students will be engaged with performance tasks that situate them as researcher, maker-creator, designer, problem solver, and problem generator. RSA is intended as a lab-model school that can highlight the most innovative practices being developed District wide. As such, the school will provide enrollment opportunities for local area neighbors and District wide parents seeking this unique learning context.