STEAM (STEM + ART)
Maryvale’s diverse offerings allow each student in both the Middle and Upper Schools the opportunity to develop a highly personalized exploration of diverse STEAM topics. Hands-on STEAM opportunities are infused throughout the curriculum at every grade level through course offerings, on and off-campus speakers, lab and studio work as well as partnerships with prominent corporations and universities.
Students are not limited to a specific STEAM track, but instead pursue a path based on their interests to set them up for success in college, which in turn prepares them for their future careers.
From constructing roller coasters and hovercrafts to programming robots and using a 3D printer, exciting experiential learning comes to life at every corner of the campus. Further, our two advanced Design Labs, brand new Center for Leadership and Innovation and “bring your own device” program in the Upper and Middle Schools allow teachers to blend traditional learning tools with the latest trends in technology to produce innovative digital projects.
As students progress through the Upper School, they continue to reach new heights in a variety of Advanced Placement courses, including AP Biology, AP Calculus, AP Computer Science, AP Physics and AP Statistics. They also learn problem-solving techniques along with essential skills needed in the business and technology worlds. Many of our girls receive leadership awards and scholar- ships to college for their excellence in STEAM-related fields and others are accepted into competitive internship programs, including Google’s coveted Computer Science Summer Institute (CSSI).
Through firsthand experiences on campus and in the community, students can pursue careers as engineers, computer programmers and health care professionals, just like many of our accomplished alumnae.
At Maryvale, science lab work teaches experimental design and promotes careful observation and critical analysis of data to solve problems.
Maryvale features robust science offerings starting in Middle School. All Middle and Upper School science classes have designated time for hands-on laboratory activities. In the Upper School, half of our Advanced Placement courses fulfill Maryvale’s commitment to STEAM. Maryvale offers a variety of AP Science courses, including AP Biology, AP Chemistry and AP Physics.
Career-specific electives, such as Forensic Science, Environmental Science and Marine Biology, are increasingly popular in the Upper School.
The new Middle School Science Lab reinforces the school’s commitment to STEAM. Hands-on science and math lessons start in Middle School. Our sixth, seventh and eighth graders participate in experiential learning exercises, including hands-on labs dissecting earthworms and frogs and performing water quality experiments. They also take a deep-dive into the lives of female scientists.
In addition, each year the Middle School spends three days in a project-based thematic learning unit. Our girls experience field trips, guest speakers and complete projects surrounding these topics.
Upper School students compete annually in the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Robot Challenge and Maryland Regional SeaPerch Challenge at the United States Naval Academy, earning scholarships and awards for their designs and companion reports.
Upper School students can also take semester-long electives in tandem with the most rigorous course offerings. This allows students to take a full schedule of major science classes.
The Middle School has a customized math program which offers more than four levels of math, including courses as advanced as Algebra II. Maryvale provides options to ensure our girls are appropriately placed and challenged.
For the 2019-2020 academic year, Advanced Placement Math courses for Upper School students include
AP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC, AP Statistics and AP Computer Science.
Recently, Maryvale students boasted an impressive cumulative average of a 4 out of 5 on the
AP Calculus exam, while others earned a 4.5 on the AP Statistics exam — surpassing the averages at many peer independent schools.
In AP Statistics, students have the opportunity to construct an experimental design and use the outcome to do a statistical analysis using the Minitab software program.
Maryvale is committed to supporting students with standardized test preparation, giving each girl critical exposure to practice assessments and problem solving. All students have test preparation through the incorporation of Khan Academy and Membean within our academic program. During their junior year, students complete a mock examination assessing if a student should focus on the ACT or SAT. Maryvale offers the PSAT for students in grades 8 through 11.
Maryvale has always been a leader when it comes to using technology in the classroom. Maryvale was the first independent, girls’ school in the Baltimore area to establish a 1:1 iPad program, allowing technology to be infused across the curriculum. As a result of this, NASA partnered with the school’s science faculty to collaborate on the development of the space program’s educational apps and online lessons.
As technology has evolved, Maryvale has adopted a “bring your own device” policy. In the Middle School, many students still choose to use iPads and across campus, we have transitioned to the next generation of technology.
Teachers are able to blend traditional learning tools with apps, such as AudiBoo and Google Drive, which enables students to collaborate on group writing projects without being in the same room. FaceTime prevents students from being absent; flipped classrooms allow for more ground to be covered and promote greater under- standing among students; and most “snow days” are now CyberDays!
Maryvale’s Library and Learning Commons boasts 26 databases, including the college-level database JSTOR.
Students have access to two state-of-the-art Design Labs with 20 iMacs in each. All are programmed with a full suite of Adobe products to enhance the students’ interests in cinematography, digital photography and graphic design. Additionally, many of the iMacs feature the latest AVID software, the same technology used to make Star Wars and Star Trek.
The sound and lighting booth in the McCarthy Theater is the perfect place for students to integrate their love of theater while developing high-tech skills, which are taught in the Theatrical Technical Production elective.
Technology-related electives in the Upper School include the following: Basic Tech Skills, Web 2.0, Digital Photography, Computer-Assisted Drawing and Introduction to Object-Oriented Computer Programming.
Upper School students have access to online, college-level classes, including Programming Logic.
Maryvale partners with Northrop Grumman, AAI/Textron Systems and other corporations to expose Middle and Upper School students to STEAM careers and opportunities through assemblies, panels and hands-on, interactive projects. In the Upper School, Leadership electives incorporate speakers and “corporate field trips” rooted in engineering.
Upper School Physics students not only have the chance to compete in the IEEE Robot Challenge, but also have the opportunity to undertake a bridge-building project. Students regularly hone their knowledge at competitive summer engineering programs and internships in the Baltimore-D.C. area — and beyond.
Maryvale graduates have gone on to major in engineering at colleges including Case Western Reserve University, Cornell University, Drexel University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Purdue University, the United States Naval Academy and Virginia Tech.
Maryvale’s college counseling team works closely with colleges and universities that have competitive engineering programs. More than 100 colleges and universities visit Maryvale each year.
Through the Arts program at Maryvale, students develop, enhance and improve their abilities and unique characteristics as well as discover new fields of interest.
The Performing Arts Department at Maryvale offers Middle and Upper School students the chance to explore, develop and advance interests in music, theater and dance throughout their years at Maryvale. We offer opportunities in choral music, instrumental ensembles, vocal performance, theater arts and dance. Additionally, all Maryvale students study the fundamentals of music, music history and music appreciation as part of our curriculum program. Our graduates are prepared to enjoy the performing arts as adults as either audience or performer. Each student leaves Maryvale with a greater knowledge of and appreciation for the arts. The school presents three productions annually on the stage of the state-of-the-art theater in McCarthy Hall.
The Maryvale Art curriculum is designed to assist students in establishing an awareness of art as part of their daily existence through a discipline-based program. Students become aware of a wide range of visual forms and important paradigms throughout history, use critical skills to judge artwork, understand how to integrate visual arts with other disciplines and discover how to create their own works of art. All Middle School students take a visual art course each year and a total of 15 visual art courses are offered in the Upper School, ranging from Graphic Design to Advanced Studio Watercolor.
Visual Arts faculty are focused on honing students’ problem-solving skills, specifically, the application of problem solving skills in all future areas of study, including both fine arts careers and non-fine arts careers.
Students who have a strong interest in art can apply to Maryvale’s Visual Arts Scholars Program. Courses in this track prepare students for the rigors of fine arts-related majors. Students enrolled in visual art classes maintain a portfolio for the college admission process, along with scholarship entries.
Upper level art courses are tailored to meet the needs and interests of students. For example, students who demonstrate a strong interest in a specific media can work with art faculty to design projects based on those interests. Upper level art students can also take an Independent Study course which allows them, with their teacher, to develop a semester-long, in-depth investigation of a specific subject matter, medium or concept.
Students in digital media and photography classes use the Adobe Creative Suite, the industry standard software in design and art-related fields, to produce digital media work.
Diversity and inclusion is a priority for Visual Arts programming and is evident in the way the courses are designed and, specifically, the artists presented.