STEM Program at San Marin to Begin Next Fall

Information and application information on the district's new program.

The Novato Unified School District is excited to announce the formation of a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Program to start in August 2013 at the San Marin High School campus.

STEM will offer a challenging, comprehensive, college-prep high school curriculum highlighting science, technology, engineering, and math curriculum to sixty ninth grade students. Project-based learning and use of technology will be key instructional strategies integrated into the curriculum. 

“We're extremely excited to give students the opportunity to take eight  cience/engineering classes and four math classes during their four years of high school. This program will allow students who want to focus in science, engineering, and math to experience a very rigorous and comprehensive curriculum,” San Marin STEM Teacher Leader Nick Williams.

San Marin High School Principal Adam Littlefield added, “There is high demand for a workforce in STEM-related fields. Graduates of the San Marin STEM program will be prepared to meet this demand.” 

“The team at San Marin led by Principal Adam Littlefield and Lead Teacher Nick Williams has crafted a rigorous program for our students.  We’re thrilled to offer this choice to all NUSD students,” commented Dr. Shalee Cunningham, NUSD Superintendent.

As a small learning community, San Marin STEM will focus on developing strong relationships between staff, students, and parents. This makes it possible to offer personalized, hands-on, individual assistance and support to our students. When students apply to San Marin STEM, they are choosing to enroll in a unique educational setting and committing to high personal and academic expectations.

While attending San Marin STEM, upper division students will be expected to take college courses. This bridge to college assists students in preparing for their post-high school experience. Upon successful completion of the San Marin STEM program college preparatory courses, all students will have met or exceeded the basic entrance requirements for the University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) systems.

Interested students and parents are encouraged to attend one of two informational nights scheduled on Wednesday, December 5th and Thursday December 6th at 7:00pm in the Emily Gates Student Center on the San Marin High School campus.

Student applications will be available online December 1, 2012 at http://sanmarinstem.weebly.com and are due in the San Marin High School Counseling Office no later than Thursday, January 31, 2013 for consideration for the 2013-14 school year. For more information please contact Principal Adam Littlefield at San Marin High School at (415) 898-2121.

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Sylvia Barry November 26, 2012 at 11:16 PM
This is fantastic news for NUSD current and future students! STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) program is something I have always thought is desperately needed at NUSD and Marin County; and I am so glad that after much planning, this will finally be offered starting 2013. San Marin already has a bio-technology track and a Robotics program; this STEM program will bring so many technology inclined students together and help them learn, grow and love science and technology! Congratulations to San Marin High and NUSD for taking this big step. I will be rooting for you and the students for a very successful run program.
Danny Skarka November 26, 2012 at 11:22 PM
My congratulations to Principal Adam Littlefield and his team. I'm sure this was not an easy task. Forward-thinking is what schools need to be.
Tina McMillan November 27, 2012 at 06:14 AM
Choices are part of what makes our district competitive. STEM is a wonderful opportunity for many students interested in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. By exposing students at this early stage we allow them to begin envisioning their college pursuits. Making education meaningful is the way to go. Thank you San Marin!
Cindy Harris November 27, 2012 at 03:22 PM
I am very excited to learn more about this program. Compared to other counties in the Bay Area, it does seem that Marin schools are somewhat behind in the science and technology departments, so this looks like a great effort to develop and inspire our students!
Cindy Harris November 27, 2012 at 03:28 PM
I wanted to add that my comment above was not meant to imply that our current schools or teachers are lacking. Mikey is very much enjoying his science and math classes and teachers at Sinaloa, and we hope that he will continue to do so at San Marin. I am just excited for the additional opportunities that the STEM program will offer.
Sylvia Barry November 27, 2012 at 06:35 PM
The program is open to ALL NUSD students; with information nights and application online starting December. I would encourage all students/parents who might be interested in the program to participate and find out more. Cindy - thanks for the clarification. My sons went through San Marin High and we were pleased with what the school offered them. I, too, am very excited about the opportunities this specialized program will offer the students. With Mr. Williams and Principal Littlefield's background and experience, I think this will be a great program for interested students.
LoveNovato November 28, 2012 at 12:10 AM
Where are the cries of outrage over how the STEM program intends to achieve demographic equity? Is there an outreach plan, and why isn't the same crowd who are against charter demanding to see it?! Programmatic choice is ok in high school, but not elementary? This seems inconsistent on the part of NUSD--do we want choices, or not?
LoveNovato November 28, 2012 at 12:12 AM
If lots of kids leave Novato High, this could impact the students there...right? So why isn't anyone getting upset about that? Because it doesn't make any sense...but for some reason, it's ok to be against the charter.
Marys Mama November 28, 2012 at 02:01 AM
Fair enough question, and I can tell you why I, for one, made a conscious decision NOT to reply in that vain (i.e. invoke the charter debate). This is a separate story altogether. And I think we cheapen what could otherwise be an intellectual discussion about the charter if EVERY Patch article about something NUSD turns into a mud-slinging war or words over the charter. My attitude: not the right place on this article about STEM. I don't want to "hijack" this story, so to speak. Frankly, I think one habitual poster's absolutely crazy inability to refrain from responding to every post has done a lot of damage to her "cause," if you will. (Charter proponents, take note ...). I intend to take a page from her notebook ... and do quite the opposite (i.e. I don't want to turn an otherwise lovely story about STEM into "charter blah blah blah"). But most importantly, I don't think there's reason for outrage (or even debate) here. It's 60 students who are still enrolled at San Marin. Meaning: 1. no facilities takeover; 2. no shuffling of faculty to other facilities; 3. no risk of another high school being shuttered because of 60 students enrolling in what's essentially a bunch of AP courses 4. if you read the website (which I have), these students are still in the "regular" San Marin English, P.E.history and foreign language classes. Frankly, I'd encourage the charter folks to take note and try this instead :) Cheers!
Marys Mama November 28, 2012 at 02:03 AM
I hate to sound all Tina-ish with some annoying phrase like "please, read the website!" ... but, oh well, here I go ... because I did just read the website. It's 60 kids who are enrolled in all San Marin classes (P.E., history, English, foreign language) ... then they take all these extra rigorous science and tech classes. So, according to the website, there can't possibly be an exodus of kids from Novato or any other high school. Cheers!
Tina McMillan November 28, 2012 at 02:26 AM
I agree that the negative response to charter and even to elementary based magnet seems to be an emotional rather than a rational response. When the district decided to go all neighborhood it was a choice to make everything the same. I believe it may have been a fear based choice as if having fewer resources meant keeping everything the same would some how equalize the impact. I found an old Marin Voice article by Jan Derby from 2005. In it she talks about being over $3 million in debt and needed to consolidate schools, lay off teachers, close down Art and PE programs and cut administrative positions within the district. That was more than seven years ago and we are still dealing with the same financial issues by having the same response. No wonder we are stuck. While NUSD chose to go all neighborhood with identical curriculums, Southern California schools were able to access funds for magnet schools that completely rebuilt campuses. In some districts they turned all their elementary schools into magnet schools. While I do understand the fear, I don't believe we should let it control what we do next.
LoveNovato November 28, 2012 at 02:36 AM
Mary's Mama, your point is well taken regarding "hijacking" and that was certainly not my intent--my point was merely to say, that when programmatic choice is presented, there should not be an automatic dismissal or assignment of motives. This will be a great program for those that want to partake--and who knows, maybe this will be so successful that they want to expand--great! It's just too bad that we can't look at all opportunities for the kids in this community with an open mind. Even given the info on the website, it does not match with the districts desire to have all neighborhood schools, since this would obviously be a draw to San Marin (just as MSA is for Novato High), even for kids outside of the neighborhood boundary. I just don't understand the districts position.
ConcernedNovatoan November 28, 2012 at 07:58 AM
Love Novato: I feel the same way. When the NUSD decides to make a change in curriculum offerings, it is lauded. When a few outsiders want to make a change in the curriculum offerings, it causes anger and a rift in the community.
Marys Mama November 28, 2012 at 04:17 PM
LoveNovato, thanks for the great dialogue! You've "said" some key words that really struck a chord with me and drive home the point that STEM is worthy of community support: "presented" - indeed, this STEM choice was presented as "we are so pleased to offer this great academic addition to the San Marin campus", whereas the charter seems to have taken the position that "the law is on our side, unless you can find a legal reason to deny it, you must approve it" - that to me is nothing short of a strong-arm tactic and while perhaps appropriate in some settings, not in the classroom/educational environment. "maybe ... so successful ... want to expand" - woohoo for starting small and testing the waters! Indeed, if this program flourishes, my attitude is take the Hill campus and run with it! But the notion that the charter is going all in when we just don't know if it will float or sink is too risky of a proposition considering the disruption its launch will do. Why can't we float some core knowledge like STEM and see how it works? Bottom line: start small, test the waters, then expand. I can't imagine my children ever needing or wanting the STEM classes, but I don't begrudge those who do - because they can enjoy STEM without (and that's the key) disrupting my children's education in any way.
Marys Mama November 28, 2012 at 04:30 PM
PLEASE, for the love of whatever it is you believe in, Tina ... stop with the "fear". It's just preposterous to suggest, say or otherwise indicate that people are afraid of the charter. I do NOT fear change, I don't fear new curriculum, I don't fear educational choices, I don't fear educational competition. I am a smart, well educated woman and mother who is capable of performing her own cost/benefit analysis and I take great exception to any group of parents who invoke charter law as a way to unilaterally use district funds, a district facility and district employees in such a way as to (negatively) impact other students in the district - not just the students in conventional classrooms, but the already challenged students who deserve the stability of the Hill campus, as opposed to once again being shuffled out as if they are second class citizens. I hereby request that, should you choose to continue to suggest charter opponents as "fearful" kindly include the disclaimer that "some charter opponents may fear ..." because I am here on record as saying I am NOT afraid. Furthermore, please do not respond by disputing the notion that the charter has the potential to negatively impact other children's education. I am quite confident that the students currently using the Hill facility - already some of the more vulnerable members of the NUSD community - would not like to be shuffled ... AGAIN. That's a negative impact, in my opinion. Cheers!
Tina McMillan November 28, 2012 at 07:05 PM
Mary's Mama, aka Betty Pancakes You do realize if you post the same response but change names midstream that the different fake names show up in our email.
Betty Pancakes November 28, 2012 at 07:22 PM
Tina, you do realize that roommates can share a computer, don't you? :) It's called co-habitating. Look it up in a dictionary ... then post the definition.
Betty Pancakes November 28, 2012 at 07:24 PM
Cohabitation is an arrangement where two people who are not married live together in an intimate relationship, particularly an emotionally and/or sexually intimate one, on a long-term or permanent basis. More broadly, the term cohabitation can mean any number of people living together.
Betty Pancakes November 28, 2012 at 07:24 PM
room·mate [room-meyt, roo m-] Show IPA noun a person who is assigned to share or shares a room or apartment with another or others.
Betty Pancakes November 28, 2012 at 07:33 PM
Tina, do you FEAR people who are so poor that they have to share an apartment? Do you FEAR people who use their roommate's computers and then realize they aren't logged into their own accounts and quickly remedy the situation so as to Patch appropriately? Do you FEAR people who don't like oysters or charter schools? Your conspiracy theories are incredible.
Tina McMillan November 28, 2012 at 08:21 PM
Betty I got a Patch update with identical comments one listed as Betty P and the other as Mary M. It has nothing to do with sharing a computer. Patch posts are based on links to emails. You can have a separate email and post as many comments as you want from the same computer but when the exact same comment with the exact wording comes up under Mary and then again under Betty but is only posted as Mary then what you have is one person using two names to make the same point. You are not alone, other posters also like to use different names to argue on a single thread. It was just interesting to know that you have two names under which you post the same words. If indeed you are two different people then I would think the words would not be identical.
Tina McMillan November 28, 2012 at 08:24 PM
Ahhh now we visit the internet concept of trolling. The idea that a person posting anonymously can stir up a thread by comparing ridiculous facts. So the fact that I support an oyster farm is somehow connected to my support of charter schools. Or my having caught you posting the same information under two fake names is now a conspiracy theory.
Betty Pancakes November 28, 2012 at 09:35 PM
Good grief, that's what I've been trying to tell 'ya. I sit down, start typing away, hit "post", realize roomy didn't log out. Copy my post, delete her name 'cuz it ain't hers, paste in MY account, re-post two freaking seconds later. OBVIOUSLY the posts are identical becuz it's what I wanted to say, it just belongs on my name, not hers. She can say whatever she wants here, so can I. I just want credit for mine, and vice versa.
Betty Pancakes November 28, 2012 at 09:40 PM
How or why is anyone who disagrees with you a troll, preytell? How or why is somebody who declines to state his or her name not worthy of being a part of the discussion? Isn't that why we have private voting booths? So you don't have to in a very public setting reveal where your allegiances lie? Celebrities are NOTORIOUS for making sweeping public statements about how they love one candidate or the other ... but are said to vote very differently. Frankly, I understand ... I want to state my opposition to oysters or any other old thing without having to make things uncomfortable for myself at the grocery store, thankyouverymuch.
Cindy Harris December 06, 2012 at 02:58 PM
We attended the info meeting last night. It was exciting to hear about the program; it seems planned and organized and I really liked how Mr. Littlefield has already engaged parents, professionals and businesses in the planning stages to help the program succeed. There is another info meeting tonight (Thursday) at 7pm. Students are welcomed to attend as well!
Jim Welte December 06, 2012 at 07:07 PM
Hi all - thanks for the comments on this story. We ask that you please stay on topic - the STEM program - and not get into personal quarrels that don't serve the larger discussion. Thank you.


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