Back to School 2015

FHA Develops Authentic STEM Curriculum

Today, Fontbonne Hall Academy offers a high level of college preparatory education that ensures its graduates are more confident and more qualified than ever. The Bay Ridge school offers a rigorous college preparatory experience with AP classes that students may take as early as ninth grade. It has established a true STEM curriculum with emphasis on project-based learning and an introductory course in the physical sciences for all ninth-grade students. The STEM curriculum also includes a Science Research Program, a three-year sequence of classes that begins in the 10th grade, along with several AP science classes and electives such as a pre-college engineering program with Brown University.

The Science Research Program is an initiative that sets Fontbonne apart. “A program like science research is a true STEM program because it is a project-based learning experience that challenges a high school student to design a research objective and to produce an original finding after dedicating herself to it for three years,” says Fontbonne Principal Mary Ann Spicijaric. Students learn science and math, use technology, and learn the correct way to collect data and analyze it to solve the questions they asked at the beginning of their investigations just as scientists and engineers must do. “It is one of the most challenging programs that a high school can offer and also one that gives students abilities beyond those of many college students.”

Fontbonne is offering the Brown Pre-College Scholars Program in Engineering in Fall 2015. Twenty-two students in grades 10-12 will participate in this year-long online course of study taught by faculty from Brown University’s School of Engineering. Fontbonne students selected for this innovative program will explore engineering and its design principles, and work collaboratively on biomedical, materials science and renewable energy engineering projects.

During the course of the program, Brown University will welcome participating students to Brown’s campus for a guided tour of the School of Engineering and interaction with faculty and students.

In addition to its academic offerings, Fontbonne is inspired by the philosophy and charism of the Sisters of St. Joseph. The academy believes that the Catholic faith challenges all people to recognize that life’s journey is guided by spiritual growth. Fontbonne educates young women with a strong foundation in ethics, dignity, integrity and compassion.