Students of Tecumseh Public Schools have settled into the new year, but the Krouch College-Career S.T.E.A.M. Center is preparing for students to return Monday, Sept. 9 for robotics, legos and other related activities.

According to Assistant Superintendent Robert Kinsey, the center is entering its second year and this year, students from elementary to high school,will continue to have access to interactive technology, career programs and more. The center focuses on science, technology, engineering, art and math.

"The S.T.E.A.M. Center is a great place where students can come and get hands on with learning science, technology, engineering, arts and math," Kinsey said. "It gives students a great opportunity and teachers a great opportunity to have an in district field trip...,"

While at the center, Kinsey said, students from elementary and middle school participate in a wide range of activities including: computer programing, building with legos, music, video, acting and other activities.

According to Superintendent Tom Wilsie, in addition to younger students, Tecumseh High School students also benefit.

"We believe it's all about student engagement, so we wanted to have programs that were kind of outside what we might normally do," Wilsie said. "The health careers, nursing or teaching, the law enforcement, computer programming and tech were all things we felt would be great hands on learning opportunities for students."

High school students can also take their concurrent classes at the S.T.E.A.M. center so they don't have to drive to Seminole State College or another campus to receive their credits Wilsie said.

Wilsie also said the center offers a program called Learning Curve which helps students who may need to make up credits or go at their own pace.

"(We're) meeting student needs (with) different types of learning styles and some of them provide different opportunities for students to be successful," Wilsie said.

Along with concurrent enrollment and Learning Curve, Kinsey explained there is also the STEAM Leadership Program in which high school students spend time each week helping younger students with various activities.

"The S.T.E.A.M. Leadership Program has been a great part of the success of the STEAM Center last year," Kinsey said. "They're role is multifaceted. One thing that they do is they help to set up all the activities for the teachers...,"

Kinsey said STEAM Leaders are helpful for both younger students and teachers by acting as an extra pair of eyes and teaching everyone how to utilize the technology.

Jenna Jones, 17-year-old senior, joined the STEAM Leadership Program to help students further their education on new technology and other subjects.

"We come over here for an hour and 30 minutes everyday. We have kids from the Early Childhood Center to..the high school students," Jones said. "They come over here and do activities that are centered around science, technology, art and math...,"

Jones explained she and other leaders work with the younger students in the elementary wing of the center.

In this part of the building, Jones said, there are four different rooms each focused on an aspect of S.T.E.A.M..

"It really helps with I feel building the future because we are the future and our leadership skills and our impact on younger students is going to build our future," Jones said.

For 18-year-old and fellow senior Brandon Jones, the STEAM is inspiring because it was created to help children grow and learn at an early age.

"I just wanted to help people and help little kids out because I never got help when I was a little kid so I just thought it'd be cool to help little ones...," Jones said.

Wilsie explained the S.T.E.A.M. Center is an opportunity to meet needs of all students in the district and this year some new things are coming to further the evolution of the facility.

"I think it's a learning process for us. It's not just the students who have to learn it's us. We're going to have to be flexible and paying attention and willing to go on that limb ourself," Wilsie said. "We've got some ideas for the new year..."

The superintendent said this year administrators came up with the Rules of Engagement which are designed to encourage students to play, create, explore and apply what they learn to the real world.

"It's going to be evolving and we'll continue to grow and try to make it better each year," Wilsie said.