Close Menu


What is STEAM?

STEAM education is a transformative approach to learning that guides students through an exciting world of curiosity, problem solving, and creativity. In the 22-23 school year the Sebastian STEAM Department was entirely revamped by STEAM Coach Frankie Portelos. Mr. Portelos and the STEAM teachers took a buffet-style approach by introducing students to a plethora of bit-size morsels of career oriented projects.

   The core subjects of science and math are connected to language arts and social studies through interdisciplinary activities and units infused with the arts and technology. Students engage in inquiry activities and make real-world connections as they produce both digital and project based artifacts. These projects often incorporate the engineering design process and multiple technological tools. Students take on leadership roles in the STEAM environment and develop a deeper understanding of the conceptual connections within their subjects.

How will a STEAM program benefit SMS students in the future?

As we connect with our business partners and community members, we have discovered an urgent need for students talented in STEAM to fill jobs vital to our nation’s future. Employers tell us that nearly 80% of future careers will require some STEAM related skills, and it’s projected that by 2018, we will need 8.65 million workers in STEAM-related jobs. In a recent national survey, only 16% of high school students indicated a strong interest in a STEAM career and also demonstrated the required skills. Proficient STEAM students are:

  • Technologically, scientifically, and mathematically literate
  • Logical thinkers
  • Able to investigate global issues
  • Able to develop solutions for real-world challenges

Since middle school is when students begin to refine their career paths and interests, we believe our STEAM program will help increase awareness, interest, and knowledge related to this growing need. As SMS students engage in inquiry to answer complex questions and collaborate on creative solutions to real-world problems, they will experience a rigorous, meaningful, and fun STEAM education at Sebastian Middle School.

STEAM = Science, Technology interpreted through Engineering and the Arts – all based in Mathematical elements.

Mr. Portelos – STEAM Coach

Mr. Huffman – ICT/STEAM

Mr. Clouse – STEAM

Mr. Dedonatis – STEAM


STEM Coach Letter:

          The Greek Philosopher Diogenes said, “The foundation of every society is the education of its youth.” Here at Sebastian Middle School, we have the responsibility, and privilege, to help mold that foundation. Through our STEM and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) classes we introduce students to a plethora of different career-oriented topics, in doing so, we begin to light a spark and interest that not only develops many skills but can lead to life-long career pathways.  

To help ignite student interest we hone in on things important to them such as pop culture. When we are learning a 3D design program, we have students design a skate park, sneaker store, or their dream house. If we are teaching audio engineering, the students compose their own music that they can later make into a ringtone or alarm for their parent’s phones. To teach coding, we have students code games like Minecraft in Mr. Huffman’s class. 

In addition, we integrate these skills and topics into the other core classes. In 7th grade ELA students read “The Boy who Harnessed the Wind.” by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer. Then in STEM class students worked on building a wind turbine. In social studies with Mrs. Sims and Mr. Stevens, students learned about the systems of government and then created their own websites using the skills they learned in STEM class. In 6th grade social studies students will learn about the Greek and Roman empires and then work on designing and 3D printing miniature columns, temples, and sculptures. These are just some of the many examples of interdisciplinary connections we make here at our amazing school. 

We have evidence of success when students want to learn the skills, when they go home and work on their projects without being given homework, when they call us over to show us their latest creations with enthusiasm, and when they tell us they want to pursue a career on the topic we introduced. Recently, St Augustine High School declared that they had an uptick in their aerospace academy enrollment from Sebastian. While interviewing their freshman class, many attributed their interest in aerospace to their 8th grade STEM classes.


Sebastian, a Cognia STEM certified school, continues to move forward and upward creating those foundational building blocks that carve out career pathways for this generation, and the ones that follow.  We are deeply grateful to the community members who serve on our STEM advisory board who continue to help us strengthen our study to career correlation and continue to make Sebastian an exciting place to learn!


Frankie Portelos

STEM Coach