Standard 1.11. Students are supported in their STEM learning through adult-world connections and extended day opportunities.

Extended day opportunities are a hallmark of Fulton Science Academy Private School’s STEM initiatives. Our before school enrichment classes, after-school clubs, and academic teams are a key component our overall success. Upwards of 90% of the student body takes part in at least one academic team, club, or enrichment classes. These extended day opportunities allow our students to expand their knowledge, reinforce their academic studies, and determine areas of both strength and interest. For example, although coding is taught to all students as part of our Project Lead the Way curriculum and computer science courses during our regularly scheduled school day, there are many students that have a passion for coding and programming who are looking for more in-depth instruction. We support and encourage these students by providing a more intense level of study and practice in our after-school coding club.The list of club opportunities is exhaustive and ever-changing to meet the needs of our currently enrolled students. Additionally, clubs and academic teams are often taught or led by parents and community members with expertise in a given area. They comprise about 50% of the extended day leadership and/or instructional roles. This approach to staffing after-school activities and academic teams provides additional informal opportunities for real world mentor relationships between experts and students in their specific areas of interest.

Our school offers an enrichment time to all students in middle and high school. While middle school students attend STEAM enrichment and character education, high school students attend college and career related sessions during this time. Notably, all juniors have one to one mentors that align with their individual goals and determined career paths. Next year, will be our inaugural senior class and they will have one to one mentors, as well. However, in middle school, our STEAM enrichment teachers act as both mentor and facilitator for their assigned student groups.

As part of outreach we host many STEM related competitions and camps that welcome participation from all students, including private, public, and home school students. Also, hosting both STEAM and STEM camps that are inclusive promotes academic forward progression for all students, while supporting diversity. FSAPS believes that students from all types of educational environments and backgrounds should have the opportunity to compete, learn, and share with each other and be recognized for their accomplishments.

MathGeniuses and ScienceGeniuses are competitions that were developed by our school and that we host annually. Additionally, we host multiple FLL Robotics competitions for Georgia Tech. This year, our robotics coach, Mr. Kaya, won FLL Robotics Coach of the Year for his unwavering dedication and support of K-12 robotics. Further, we serve as the coordinators and hosts for the Regional Independent and Home School Technology Fair. This was a new region created at our request to allow a path for all private and home school students to participate in the Georgia Student Technology Competition. Notably, as the competition coordinator and host,  we worked with the Jewish Private Schools Association to host the Tech Fair competition at a time that would allow their students to participate, but also be considerate of Christian and Muslim religious observances. As a result, we now hold the Regional Tech Fair on Sunday afternoons, so that all students have the opportunity to participate regardless of their faith. Destination Imagination is another competition that we host and have integrated into our program that affords opportunities for all students to be recognized for both their cognitive and creative abilities. FSAPS even partnered with Destination Imagination and Ford Motor Co. to host an event outside of competition to promote awareness of STEAM education.

Camps offer another way to reach students beyond our current enrollment and offer a hands-on introduction to our school. They also offer the opportunity for increased study, exploration, and reflection of an area of STEAM interest, a time to hone social skills, and a time to promote learning in an enjoyable manner. We provide and/or serve as a host site for several camps: Robotics Camp, STEAM Camp, Math Olympiad Camp, BioIgnite Camp, Kids4Coding Camp, Financial Literacy Camp, CEO of My Life Camp, and Chess Camp.

As previously mentioned in Standard 1.10, we have worked with the City of Alpharetta Environmental Coordinator and the Fulton County Public Works Department to provide additional STEM activities and programs for our students both in and outside the classroom. For example, the Fulton County Water Tower Project that was coordinated by our school was open to all students in Fulton County. Other examples include, our robotics teams partnering with the Alpharetta Recycling Department on projects and our students working with the City of Roswell Rivers Alive initiative to enhance environmental science awareness.