School Spotlight: Brooklyn Center Middle School
These days it's full steam ahead for Brooklyn Center Middle School thanks to a new STEAM program.

"This gives us a foundation to draw on each kid's individual strengths," said Alexandra Holter, a BCMS teacher.

STEAM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. The school put in the program at the start of the year, after doing extensive research on the benefits of STEAM.

"There was a lot of planning that went into the process," Carly Jarva, principal at Brooklyn Center Middle School.

Jarva has been the principal at BCMS for five years. In that span she has had some amazing takeways.

"I'm so proud to be the principal here," Jarva said. "I was blown away by the stories that the young people walking through these halls carry with them. They are truly remarkable people."

At BCMS, some of the kids come from disadvantaged backgrounds and 83 percent of the students receive either free or reduced-price meals.

"Many of our students experience so many different obstacles and challenges even before they can get in the front door," Jarva said.

Because of that, coming to school with a positive outlook can be daunting, but they find a way to persevere and often thrive.

"I can't wait to get to second hour, Minnesota studies," said Jaden Love, a sixth-grade student. "That's my favorite class. I'm class president actually. I bring snacks to the class sometimes."

One of the benefits of STEAM is a focus on arts-related activities. The BCMS choir sounds polished beyond their years. There is also a focus on dance at the school. Kids get aerobic activity and have fun at the same time.

"We have an tremendous guidance staff that is able to support and meet the needs of students as well," Jarva said.

Robotics is another part of the curriculum at BCMS. Students start the project with a design and modeling component. In the second semester, their work will turn into something special.

"I hope it helps them with their critical thinking skills and their collaboration skills," Holter said.

Eric Nelson, reporting



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