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Innovative STEM program welcomed

Thea Bowman robotic quality control team members, sixth-grader Kennedy Zellers and fourth-grader Fred Griffin, inspect the solenoid actuator for the Gizmo S1 robot, being built by the robotic team of students in third to sixth grade. The Gizmo S1 is a social robot that will initially be used to introduce new concepts to struggling learners.

GARY — Students at the Thea Bowman Leadership Academy Elementary School (TBLA), a public charter school, are engaging on a new quest for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) knowledge. This year the school introduced STEMNASIUM Academy, the area’s newest and most innovative learning program.

STEMNASIUM is housed at Phalen Leadership Academies (PLA), a nonprofit charter school management organization focused on turning around low performing and failing schools. PLA currently provides management services to Thea Bowman Leadership Academies. STEMNASIUM is a part of nearly half of all PLA schools, and has become a powerful and impactful aspect of the Phalen educational model.

Tariq Al-Nasir is a veteran of the U. S. Armed Forces, former CIA operative, and the founder and servant leader of STEMNASIUM Academy. “Coach T,” as his students refer to him, believes that STEM is a language and that early exposure is the key to fluency. He recounts his travels around the world and states that technology is the future of our world.

Beyond learning computer programing and engineering, scholars learn to work together, resolve conflicts peacefully, and solve complex problems through the lens of STEM. These are 21st-century skills and competencies that will prepare them for success in high school, college and the workforce.

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