Our culture will always value scientists, mathematicians, and engineers. From Albert Einstein to Tiera Guinn, individuals in these fields have made indispensable contributions to the current state of our society, It is no exaggeration to say that without them, the world as we know it would cease to exist.
It’s only natural, then, that STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) subjects are highly valued by today’s workforce. An education in STEAM goes beyond the classroom — it equips students with an understanding of the world around us. On top of that, a background in is said to make students more attractive to future employers.
Despite this, the importance of soft skills such as critical thinking and communication cannot be understated. Sadly, most schools and universities neglect this crucial aspect of a student’s education — and graduates are struggling because of it. Nearly three in four employers have said they have difficulty finding graduates with the soft skills their companies need, leaving a skilled STEAM-educated workforce largely without jobs.
Enter Cushing Academy.
Founded in 1865, Cushing Academy is a co-ed, college preparatory boarding and day school for students in grades nine to 12.
Students are educated in Ashburnham, Massachusetts, just 62 miles from Boston. Their 162-acre campus is complete with vast greenery that stretches as far as the eye can see, with no shortage of cutting-edge academic, residential, and sporting facilities geared at giving students an environment that is not only intellectually inspiring but motivates individual development, as well.
Cushing Academy boasts exceptional academic that encompass foundational courses, classes, Advanced Placement (AP) courses, and independent study. Its Course Catalogue includes extensive STEAM offerings across computer science, mathematics, and science. Choose from more traditional subjects such as algebra and biology or the more unique “Introduction to Sports Medicine” — at Cushing Academy, the possibilities are limitless.
“Learning is about curiosity and joy,” says Science Department Head, Dorm Parent, and Cross Country and Track Coach Meredith Mikell, and this sentiment is certainly reflected in the school’s academic offerings. At the forefront is an integrated STEAM initiative, where science is taught in a cross-disciplinary manner in conjunction with the arts, athletics, and humanities. It’s an innovative way of providing students with an all-rounded educational experience.
At Cushing Academy, students are taught to make real-world connections in the classroom. “My goal is to help students personally relate to the content,” shares Mikell. “For research projects, my chemistry students investigate where polymers show up in everyday life, how preservatives are used in food science, and how radioisotopes identify disease. For any topic, we talk about why it’s interesting, why it matters, and how it’s relevant. That makes it fun for students.”
This gives faculty flexibility in designing their teaching to be discipline-specific and appropriate to students’ individual levels. In science teacher Kurt Kublbeck’s Advanced Engineering classes, for example, students design and build t-shirt launchers.
“We start from the origin of the engineering and design process with brainstorming, sketching diagrams, collecting materials, and building prototypes,” he says. “After testing, they go back to the drawing board to refine their work. There’s nothing better than that moment when all of their creativity, diligence, and perseverance culminates in a final project.”
This varied approach not only makes learning an enjoyable experience for students but ensures that they are prepared for the demands of a varied global working environment, as well. “It’s important to show students that our society has more crossover than ever between disciplines,” adds Mikell.
Of course, that’s not to distract from Cushing Academy’s unparalleled curriculum in the arts and humanities. This includes five language offerings, English and ESL (English as a Second Language), Visual and Performing Arts, and more. The arts, in particular, are an integral part of life at Cushing Academy, with every student allowed to explore their creative side through various staged productions, workshops, and more.
Students are taught in an average class size of 12 with a student to faculty ratio of 7:1. To better support their academic and personal journeys, they are assigned a faculty advisor, who often gathers their advisory groups for conversations, dinners, and special events.
Here, students develop close-knit and meaningful relationships with the school’s of experienced staff, many of whom extend beyond one’s academic career. Mikell, for example, is a huge fan of science fiction — a passion she regularly shares with her students. “They often find me and we have great conversations,” she enthuses.
For children between the ages of 11 to 18 interested in getting a glimpse into life at Cushing Academy, the Cushing Summer Session is the perfect option. Here, students get to select the classes and activities that best meet their academic and personal goals, interests, and learning style. Choose between a three-week session or a five-week session in June and July, where aspiring Penguins are guaranteed memories to last a lifetime.
It’s undeniably an institution that gives students room to develop — both intellectually and individually. “It’s wonderful to see how happy students are at Cushing and how excited they are to learn,” Mikell says. “The transformation is extraordinary as students come into their own here.”
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