Technical Education Expansion

As a result of 2016 voter-approved referendum, the Winneconne High School opened a new STEAM area in 2017-2018 school year, tooled up to help prepare students for workplaces that integrate science, technology, engineering, art and math. Built with large flexible spaces, teachers will work across many content areas and to provide more opportunities for students to experience more career preparation pathways. As they learn, students experience what a future STEAM career may involve.

HS Computer Lab The Technical Education/STEAM area features flexible learning spaces that can be modified based on course offerings and includes:

  • Improved woods & metals classrooms
  • Project Lead the Way lab
  • Expanded welding facilities
  • Graphic design/art classrooms
  • Design, fabrication and computer labs
  • Science/physics classroom

The New STEAM Facilities Improve Educational Opportunities for Students

Have you ever purchased one product over another for the way it looked? We’re pretty sure most everybody has done that – or at least, has been tempted. That’s an example of engineering integrated with design to develop the consumer goods people want to purchase.
Plus, chances are that the development of the end-product incorporated automation to complete at least some of the processes related to engineering, manufacturing, assembling, or packaging to deliver it to the consumer. That’s the premise that drove the design of the new STEAM facility: It uses an integrated approach to expose students to many aspects of STEAM careers.

 The High School has been focused on expanding its career and technical education program for the past three (3) years, said Michaud. “We’ve grown from offering three transcripted credit classes to 20,” she said. A transcripted credit means that the coursework is recognized by a collaborating college and offers the students credits for successful completion of the course in high school. “We are exposing kids to careers. Hopefully, it gives them a direction for their future and a leg up no matter what they choose to do,” said Leah Michaud, principal of Winneconne High School.

HS Welding BoothsChris Arps is a technology and engineering teacher who works as part of the STEAM team. “We are going to help students at all levels move through different programs and see how these subject areas integrate with each other,” said Arps.

The other teachers that work in the STEAM addition are Bill Bunker, technology and engineering teacher; Brad Thomas, science teacher; and Don Molitor, art teacher.
“For example, welding is a dual-credit course. Granted it increases the rigor, but students who complete these courses can have earn credits and are immediately able to go into Fox Valley Technical College to start a program,” he explained. The new facilities allowed the school to expand from three (3) welding stations to eight (8) stations.

 A new class added this year is called Computer Programming, Automation, and Robotic Applications. The curriculum will teach programming, debugging, machine and light controls, and automation principles and applications.  “Right now, we are specializing in five areas: welding, machining, automation, electronics, and engineering. We are looking to expand in the future,” said Arps.

HS Fab Lab

Professional development is a priority, too. Teachers attend seminars at Fox Valley Tech before teaching the transcripted courses at the High School. Some are trained through Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) to implement engineering courses called Project Lead the Way. Project Lead the Way allows students to take classes at their high school and also earn credits from MSOE. “I think people may think of woods and metals classes when they hear tech ed. It is that, but it is much more,” said Michaud.

“We have fabrication labs, dirty labs, STEAM labs (engineering and computing), plus design coursework. We have a 3D printer, CNC machine and laser engraving machine. Students can explore so many pathways. It’s very exciting,” she concluded.

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