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Amherst Central High School Named a 2019 School on the Move – Accomplished Level

Teachers at award ceremony Amherst Central High School was named a 2019 School on the Move – Accomplished Level by the WNY STEM Hub. The competitive recognition is open to any school that embarks on transformational changes in STEM learning across three levels of achievement – emerging, engaged and accomplished.


The school earned the highest level of recognition due to its development of STEM learning opportunities in the fine arts program. The school will be recognized at a luncheon on Nov 8.


The recognition encourages sharing and scaling up by example as it identifies individual schools that have demonstrated marked progress in STEM integration, connections to non-STEM disciplines, project-based learning, connections to STEM careers, and application of engineering design process.


The judges noted that several new best practices to incorporate STEM into the fine arts program had been implemented by the high school. The high school will use fine arts training as a catalyst to dovetail into science, math, engineering, business and technology to create an ideal STEAM setting.


Through the capital construction project, three current art rooms will be redesigned into a design lab, pottery studio and traditional media classrooms.


Along with these physical changes, Amherst will have its first Apple based computer lab, with brand new equipment including multiple 3-D printers, large format photo printers, a large format plotter and vinyl cutter. This gives teachers the chance to rethink how to teach design in the future, as for the first time, students could take a graphic design course, a product development course, digital photography, digital film, studio photography for advertising and a design thinking course.


In the current course offering, 21st Century Design & Innovation, students learn the Design Thinking Method that was developed at the Stanford D.School and also used by IDEO and other design consultants. High School art teacher Steve Appler was trained at the Henry Ford Learning Institute in Detroit to learn to develop a curriculum that gives students experience in product design, ideation, prototyping and marketing. Eventually students in the program will be able to design a product, prototype it, render it in Solid Works, 3-D print it, photograph it in a professional studio setting, create product storyboards and advertising layout in graphic design, print ideation storyboards in large format, research cost analysis for production (with our business program), market via UI and UX development (website design),  and ideally sell it in a small production their senior year.


The program goal is to give students authentic work-like experiences both individually and in teams, and a skill set that has a foundation in art and design. The program will also help them recognize the opportunities that are involved in all levels of product design and the niche careers that exist such as storyboard artists, design consulting, industrial design, product design, graphic design, marketing, product researcher, CNC production, studio photography, digital filmmaker.