Reference Guide of Terms

1-to-1: One-to-one represents the ratio of one personal computer or computing device for every student.  STEM School Chattanooga has a 1-to-1 structure since every student has an iPad.

Apps: Apps is short for applications, which are typically small, specialized programs downloaded onto a mobile device.  For our students, the term "apps" primarily refers to the programs downloaded onto the iPads.  Some apps that are commonly used include:

  • App Store: Access to apps, music, books etc. from the Apples iTunes store
  • Book Creator: The simple way to create beautiful ebooks
  • Camera: Quickly captures audio and video recordings
  • GarageBand: turns iPad, into a collection of Touch Instruments and a full-featured recording studio
  • GeoGebra: A graphing caculator for functions, geometry, Algebra, Calculas and Statistics. 
  • Google Calendar: Sync dates, alerts, and reminders across all platforms
  • Google Classroom: Provides a safe and easy way to connect and collaborate, share content, access homework, and share school notices
  • Google Docs: Word Processing for papers, letters, and all documents
  • Google Drive: Cloud-based app used for archiving and sharing documents across platforms
  • Google Slides: Create multimedia presentations
  • Khan Academy: Allows you to learn almost anything for free.
  • iMovie: Create and edit videos
  • OverDrive: Borrow eBooks and audiobooks from your local public library
  • Notablity: Note-taking and Annotation app for PDFs
  • PowerSchool: Easy access to grades, comments, and progress from teachers to students
  • Prezi: Create online multimedia timelines and presentations
  • Puffin or Photon Browsers: Web browsers for Flash media
  • Safari Browser: Browse the Web
  • Swift Playgrounds: Makes it fun to learn and experiment with code
  • YouTube: Access to content and instructional videos

Blended Learning: Blended learning combines instructional practices from a traditional school setting with those from a virtual school setting.  In a traditional school setting, the teacher usually possesses all of the knowledge and information, and the students depend on the teacher for learning that information.  In a virtual school setting, however, all the information is instructed through an online platform with no teacher involved in the teaching process.  Here at STEM School, we use both practices depending on the resources, subject matter, and student need. By using blended learning, we integrate technology into our curriculum, instruction, and assessment.

Bookeo: Bookeo is an online program used for scheduling.  STEM School students use this program to schedule their class courses for each unit in the 9th and 10th grades.

Collaboration: Collaboration is a skill we nurture in our students, and it equips them to work together to enhance learning, to share ideas, and to create better products.

Critical Thinking: Critical Thinking is a skill we nurture in our students, and it enables them to access, use, and apply knowledge.

Dividend Days: Each month starting in September 9th and 10th grade students who have all of their learning target grades at a basic, proficient, or advanced level can participate in Dividend Days-in place of Inertia Institute. It is an incentives program where students engage in enrichment opportunities and activities they want to do for the day.

Edgenuity: Edgenuity is a video course curriculum, which offers instruction for over 185 different courses.  At the STEM School, we use Edgenuity for a variety of opportunities-including blended learning, foreign language work, virtual history content, and as remediation material for students who have not yet scored proficient or advanced on learning targets.  

EdReady: EdReady is an online program that prepares students for college math.  It provides a personalized study path for mathematics work and is a supplemental program used in some of the STEM School math courses.  It is also the program we use to evaluate the math readiness of our entering 9th grade students, and EdReady provides math entrance work for the 9th grade year.

Fab Lab: A fab lab (or fabrication laboratory) is a small-scale workshop for digital fabrication. With the purpose of making "almost anything," a fab lab is equipped with an array of flexible, computer-controlled tools that utilize several different length scales and various materials. The STEM School's Fab Lab is the first in the state of Tennessee.

Flipped Classroom:  A flipped classroom reverses how lecture and homework typically are used in a course.  Rather than devoting class time to lectures, short video lectures are viewed by students at home before the class session.  This allows the in-class time to be devoted to exercises, projects, or discussions.

Google Docs: Google Docs is a free, web-based office suite offered by Google and located within the Google Drive service.  It allows users to create and edit documents online while collaborating live with other users.

Google Drive: Google Drive is an online cloud storage service that allows you to store your documents, photos, videos, and more.  From Google Drive, you can also use Google Docs and other applications to create and edit various types of files.

Google Classroom: Google Classroom will be used throughout the year for teacher and student communication. All work assigned will be posted in Google Classroom. Students will be able to manage their work online through folder systems and share work with teachers for items to be turned in. This is a one-stop shop for students to manage schoolwork and communicate back and forth with teachers. School announcements, opportunities through the guidance office, and administrative items are also communicated through this platform.

Grading: Grading at STEM School Chattanooga follows a standards-based grading approach-so we tie all our grades directly to a specific standard required for learning by the state of Tennessee.  Student grades come from performance assessments, which show a student's level of mastery for a specific topic.  We call these our summative assessments, and they include tests/quizzes, projects, and products.  Student mastery levels are broken down as follows, and each number grade reflects a different level of mastery.

  • No Mastery (0): Assessment is missing or incomplete. Score of 0.
  • Below Basic (BB): Student level of understanding is not acceptable. Score of 50.
  • Basic (BA): Student level of understanding shows basic knowledge of the material. Score of 70.
  • Proficient (PR): Student level of understanding shows both knowledge and comprehension of the material, and student is prepared for ongoing studies in STEM. Score of 85.
  • Advanced (AD): Student level of understanding shows not only comprehension of the material but also an ability to apply the content in a real world setting and create new ideas using the content. Score of 100.

Houses: Each student will be part of one of four houses throughout their high school years at STEM School Chattanooga. Each student will be sorted into the different houses when they become a STEM student based off personality and interest testing. The four houses are named Staupers, Tesla, Einstein, and Mirzakhani and each house is made up of students with traits of artisans, guardians, idealists and rationalists.

House Competitions: Throughout the year there will be different competitions between the houses. These will mostly occur the day after an Inertia Institute/Dividend Day and can be as short as 15 minutes but as long as a full day. Scores will be accumulated across the year such that a winning house will be recognized at the end of the school year.

Inertia Institute: Inertia Institute occurs each month starting in September and is required for 9th and 10th grade students with any scores of No Mastery or Below Basic (scores that would prevent them from earning course credit). Students use the online program Edgenuity for the information, videos, and practice they need to raise all individual grades to a Basic level of mastery.

Inquiry-Based Learning: Inquiry-based learning starts with a question, problem, or scenario-rather than with a simple presentation of established facts. Here the teacher acts as a facilitator, and students develop their knowledge or solutions through identifying and researching issues and questions.

Innovation: Innovation is a skill we nurture in our students, and it empowers students to create new and original ideas, processes, and products.

Intervention Tables: Intervention Procedures used at STEM School Chattanooga can be found by viewing the Intervention Procedure Charts. Consequences for behaviors that are inappropriate are included in the tables within this document. There are two tables for 9th and 10th grade students - the first table has our basic intervention levels for behaviors and the second table is dedicated to bullying and harassment. In the 11th and 12th grade levels there are three additional tables to provide support for students in the high school, college scheduling and professional setting - these three additional tables include interventions for academic behaviors, attendance, and dress code.

Learning Targets: Learning targets are educational standards written in student-friendly language and signify what a student should learn.  They follow Tennessee and Common Core educational standards.

Mods: Mods is short for the word modules.  We use mods to describe the periods of time we schedule for each class.

PBL: PBL-or project/problem-based learning-is a dynamic approach to teaching in which students work in small collaborative groups to explore real-world problems and challenges and to develop cross-curriculum skills. Because PBL is filled with active and engaged learning, it inspires students to obtain a deeper knowledge of the subjects they are studying.  The curriculum here at STEM school is rooted in the PBL philosophy. 

(Note: the term "PBL" can also refer to the actual project assigned for a specific unit of study.)

Placement Assessments: Placement assessments, much like pre-tests, are used to determine a student's proficiency in a specific topic.  The assessment results then dictate in which class a student is scheduled. For example, a student scoring proficient on a placement assessment for an upcoming unit will be scheduled in the advanced class for that unit.  STEM Students in 9th and 10th grades may take placement assessments at the beginning of a unit. 

Powerschool: Powerschool is the online program used by Hamilton County Schools for storing and reporting student grades. Both students and parents can access Powerschool and track student grades across the year.

Pythons: We are the STEM School Chattanooga Pythons. The Pythons was chosen as our mascot because of its strength and Python is also a coding language used in computer science and STEM fields.

Remediation: In remediation, teachers meet with those students who have incomplete work and/or who are not meeting proficiency expectations for the purpose of intervening and assisting them. 

RTI: RTI is short for "Response to Intervention"-but can also be referred to as "Road to Improvement."  It is a time set aside for helping individual students better understand their learning targets which are not yet proficient.  RTI time for 9th and 10th grade students occur before lunch each school day and is assigned by the teacher. 

Student Support Senate: The Student Support Senate, or SSS, is comprised of one student representative from each advisee group. Its role is to develop and edit school rules and to positively impact school culture.

Summatives: Student grades come from performance assessments, which show a student's level of mastery for a specific topic.  We call these our summative assessments, and they include tests/quizzes, projects, and products.

Summer School: In order to earn credit for a course at the STEM School, EVERY grade for EVERY learning target must be at a basic, proficient, or advanced level. Students with any grade not at these levels by the end of school will be required to attend summer school until EVERY grade is at the level of basic, proficient, or advanced.  Summer School content is assigned in Inertia Institute each year and is completed online through Edgenuity.

Tech Time: Tech Time is a class required for both 9th and 10th grades where students collaborate on self-selected STEM projects, learn about digital citizenship, engage in the engineering design cycle, and participate in specific grade-level activities.  Tech Time for 9th grade meets throughout the school year and focuses on the above items, while Tech Time for 10th grade meets throughout the year and also includes Personal Finance curriculum.

Tesla: Tesla is the name of the school mascot. It is modeled after Nikola Tesla, who invented wireless transmission and everything we associate with radio. His inventions are the backbone to how energy is emitted wirelessly across the world and are the foundation to the creation of the Internet.

Virtual School: The Virtual School is the school in which STEM School students enroll for online courses.  These courses are completed in Edgenuity, and the teachers for these classes are not located at the STEM School campus.  The Virtual School is run by the administration at the Hamilton County Schools central office.