To be competitive in a rapidly changing world, students must have the knowledge and skill sets to address the demands of a global economy. Toward that goal, LAUSD has recognized the importance of preparing students in the fields of STEAM, the integration of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math. STEAM shows students how the scientific method can be applied to everyday life using computational thinking and real-world application of problem solving.
The district has over 150 schools with a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) or STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) focus. Each school has a different STEM/STEAM emphasis from Biomedicine, to Engineering, to Robotics, and more. To support these schools and expand the number of STEM/STEAM schools, the Division of Instruction has hired two STEAM coordinators, and each local district has hired one STEAM coordinator. The STEAM coordinators collaborate to create LAUSD resources to support STEM/STEAM programs across the district.
In Spring 2017, Superintendent King asked the Division of Instruction (DOI) to research STEM/STEAM certification for schools to calibrate STEM/STEAM programs across the district. In the Fall of 2017, with the support of external partners and institutions of higher education, DOI launched a STEM/STEAM certification pilot process for schools. The objective of the certification process is to require schools to examine their instructional programs, structures, lesson design processes, and stakeholder interactions that promote an effective STEAM school culture based on collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking. Every local district selected schools to participate in the pilot of the certification process. The schools conducted a self-study of their STEM/STEAM instructional programs to calibrate and refine as necessary in order to develop a portfolio demonstrating the quality of their programs.