Robert F. Smith is opening a new high school in the Montbello neighborhood of Denver.
According to its website, the STEAM Academy will encompass science, technology, engineering, arts and math and founded on the principles of historically Black colleges and universities.
“When I think about what it took to create the STEAM academy, it occurs to me it wasn’t actually about starting a school. It was about building a village,” Smith said during an interview with CBS News.
The school’s core values have been constructed into a framework called WILLPOWER.
The WILL POWER core values are:
Act-Like a Global Citizen: I will embrace life outside my personal space, be open to differences and encourage the diverse multicultural energy and global ambition of my beliefs. No matter how foreign the concept or daunting the challenge I face in learning and performing, I will take action with a global mindset and share my passionate spirit to like-minded individuals everywhere.
Think-Like a CEO: I will own my brand of learning and performance. I will cultivate my talents and strengths into unique assets that will power my ability to achieve whatever I aspire to do. I will relentlessly strive to be better and do better and will never rest in temporary successes.
Create-Like a Visionary: I will be the change agent that accepts defeat as a lesson learned towards becoming a winner. I understand that risks and failures are necessary steps towards one day becoming successful. I will do what’s necessary to create a path towards my goal and be courageous enough to walk the path and obtain my goal.
Perform-Like a Leader: I will not accept mediocrity for myself or from my peers. I will model fairness and integrity at all times. I will believe and support my team whether in the classroom or on the field, to motivate them to aspire towards greatness. I model the WPACA way of inspiring academic and social excellence in myself, my community and our global society.
The school’s principal and HBCU graduate, Shakira Abney-Wisdom, also spoke to the news outlet about the STEAM Academy:
“From the time I was in pre-K through graduate school I went to predominantly white institutions. Just stepping on the campus at A&M, it felt like I belonged, just seeing students who looked like me, professors who looked like me. It’s something that’s difficult to articulate if you haven’t experienced it, but it’s just that sense of community and family,” said Abney-Wisdom.
“We get excited about the places where we belong. When we feel that me matter in space and what we bring is valuable, we show up as our full selves. That’s the piece for me that’s so important. It shows up in engagement and course performance,” she added.
The academy will begin enrolling its founding class during the 2020-21 school year. Rising ninth-graders can enroll during SchoolChoice Round 1, which will begin in January 2021. The founding class will start in August 2021 for the 2021-22 school year.