While we may not be in school and while we, unfortunately, needed to cancel our March 25th informational meeting, we are still on target to finalize our 2020-2021 6th grade class!

April 10th is the deadline to accept the invitation that was mailed home at the beginning of March to students who qualified for acceptance.  If you still want to be considered for final acceptance, please email Ms. Fryzel at fryzelj@dearbornschools.org

To help with some of your most common questions, please see the below information.  If you still have questions, please email Ms. Fryzel.

1.  What are the academic classes for 6th grade?  Are these classes advanced for their grade level?

– Math


– Science

– Social Studies

– STEM Applications

We are bound by the state curriculum that all 6th graders are required to learn.  HOWEVER, we move faster, we go more in depth, and we increase the rigor of those standards by creating a project/problem based learning environment that will require students to collaboratively work with their peers to discover answers instead of being lead to those answers or even given the answers by the teachers.

2.  What does a typical daily class schedule look like for a 6th grader? 

Our day starts at 7:25 – we are on a high school schedule – and ends at 2:15.  Since we are a magnet school, there is no transportation provided.  Parents are responsible to get students to and from school.  Many parents have established carpools.

7:25 – 7:39  A-Square (kind of like homeroom)

7:43 – 8:40  core class

8:44 – 9:41  core class

9:45 – 10:10  LUNCH  (this is early, we allow students to have a healthy snack during 6th hour and it has been very successful)

10:14 – 11:12  core class

11:16 – 12:13  core class

12:17 – 1:14  Electives

1:18 – 2:15  core class

3.  How many students are typically in a class?  What is the 6th grade population generally?  What is the total middle school population?

– 30 kids per class typically

– 60 6th grade students

– 180 total students in the school (60 per grade)

4.  Are there elective classes (art, music, foreign language, gym, etc.), in addition to the academic classes?  If so, what are the electives?

There are pros and cons with ANY school.  As a small school, we offer electives on an every other day schedule.  Meaning, we have an A/B day structure; this allows students to have two of the following electives:

– ALL students receive PE every other day

– Art

– Band

– Orchestra

These are our only electives at this time,

5.  Does the school offer extracurricular activities, clubs, and/or sports?  If so, what are they?

Yes, we offer after school activities.  We are not able to offer sports, but all students at STEM can go to their home middle school and play a sport there.  We have MANY of our students on the football, basketball, volleyball, etc. teams of the other middle schools.  This is one of the reasons we are on a 2:15 dismissal – students can get to their home middle schools on time for practices and games.  In the past, students were missing instructional time to do this.

Other clubs/activities that we offer after school AT STEM:

– coding club

– chess (5th year in a row city champs)

– robotics (finished 9th in the state last year)

– academic games (finished 2nd this year)

– Math Circles (run by the U of M math professors and our math teacher)

– yearbook

– game board club

– intramurals

– jazz band

– learning center (Tuesdays and Thursdays) – kind of like a homework club.  VERY popular

6.  Do students change their schedules at the semester?

Classes stay the same all year

7.  What are the state standardized tests for 6th graders?

They are the same as all schools in the state:  Math and ELA M-STEP

We also take the NWEA three times a year

8.  How many incoming 6th grade students does the school accept?  What is the maximum number?  If a lottery-drawn student decides not to take their acceptance, does the school replace that spot with another student to be drawn by lottery?

We accept 60 students.  The maximum we can take is 60 students.  We accepted 60 last year and all 60 showed up and stayed the entire year.

Any student not accepted through the lottery goes on a waitlist.  If an accepted student declines the final invitation, we will invite from the waitlist.  Sometimes this does not happen until the fall.

9.  Is there a lot of homework at STEM?

Comparatively speaking to other middle schools?  No.  There is a transition between elementary school and middle school, so homework is going to look different and have a different feel.  There is also the “STEM effect” that needs to be considered.  We as teachers assign tasks that we fully intend to take, say 20 minutes.  The STEM students can take that task and turn it in to a 2 hour event.  The need for “perfection” is an issue that we strive to lessen.  However, if students remain focused and on task while in class, homework is not an overwhelming thing.

Jennifer Fryzel
6th and 8th Grade Language Arts Teacher
STEM Lead Teacher  2018 National Blue Ribbon School
Dearborn Heights Campus