In 2016, the Cypress School District built dedicated classroom facilities on each school campus to support two brand new districtwide programs - STEM and music. This issue of our monthly e-newsletter provides an update on our first year accomplishments as well as a little sneak peek of what's in store for 2017/2018. 
We hope you enjoy reading about it as much as we enjoy providing these unique learning experiences for our students!

Anne Silavs, Superintendent
Cultivating Student Ingenuity through STEM

Our new STEM labs provide space for students to explore the impact of science, technology, engineering, and math on the world around them. This flexible learning environment promotes project-based learning, hands-on instruction, and applied knowledge. During the first year of our new program, we focused on teaching students principles of the engineering design process. For example, our kindergarten students designed and constructed  solid structures to withstand the forces of the wind. First graders studied the protective structure of plants and applied that knowledge to solve a human problem. Fifth graders created a fuel source to power a car for a specified distance.
Looking ahead to 2017/2018, our STEM curriculum will include environmental science and computer coding units, too. For example, our second graders will investigate ways to minimize land changes that occur from exposure to wind and water. Fourth graders will design and test their own renewable energy devices.  Sixth graders will investigate and monitor their impact on an environmental problem of their own choosing. We look forward to seeing the amazing solutions our students come up with this fall!
This year we will also include coding in our STEM program. Coding, or computer programming, is language's new and essential partner. Students at every grade level will have the opportunity to create something by writing or modifying lines of code. These skills are already being paired with what our students are doing in the STEM program. For example, one sixth grade unit of study engages students in building simulated environments to model genetic variation. All of this work with our students is being done well in advance of the California Department of Education's development of K-12 Computer Science Standards, which are expected to be released in July 2019.
We invite you to view the pictures in our STEM photo album to see what our students have been learning.
Studying the Solar Eclipse
Did you see it?

On August 21, 2017, the moon passed between the earth and the sun for the first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse since 1918. While we only experienced about 70% coverage in Cypress, we took full advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and turned it into a tremendous learning experience for our students. Students and staff alike were supplied with NASA-approved safety glasses to observe this historic event; teachers delivered lessons about the dynamics of motion and its impact on the moon, the sun, and the earth.
There's Music in the Air and
on Each Campus in the Cypress School District!

As part of the district's new music program, students in transitional kindergarten through sixth grade receive weekly music instruction during the school day provided by a credentialed music teacher. The program also includes an annual spring concert at each school site which showcases our students' musical accomplishments during the year. The four-minute video below is a montage that highlights the concerts at all six of our schools. You may also visit our music photo albums to view pictures from the spring concerts.

This year, we are expanding the music program by offering our students the additional opportunity to participate in two different performance ensembles. In World Music, students will explore various world percussion instruments, understand the role these instruments play in different cultural settings, and perform a world music repertoire. In the district's new Choir Program, students will explore various vocal techniques and perform songs in rounds, canons, and multi-part harmonies. There will actually be two district choirs, each one serving students from three schools. In time, it is our hope that these new musical groups will be performing at local events throughout our community!
Candi Kern   .  Sandra Lee   .  Donna McDougall   .  Brian Nakamura   .  Lydia Sondhi, Ph.D.