A JK-12 pluralistic school that engages students in an exemplary and inspiring general and Jewish education.

STEM at the Lower School

What is STEM?

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math. But it also stands for much more. STEM is also the thinking, values, and processes that people in these fields use to be successful innovators and discoverers.

There are three specific goals of the STEM program at the CESJDS Lower School.

With each of these main goals come several methods for achieving each with our students and faculty. A deeper dive into these methods can be found below.


Places and Spaces for STEM

STEM requires places to use and store materials. These spaces need to sustain creative work and be accessible to the school community. Currently, we have two classroom spaces that are specifically dedicated to STEM and are used by classes throughout the day for various projects, and experiments.

Concetrated STEM Learning

STEM specific classes allow students to build new and essential skills and provide students with opportunities to use STEM content areas in conjunction to solve problems. Currently, we have about 23 STEM specific courses running.

Cross Cutting Concepts

STEM Learning is not silo'd in STEM content. It bridges learning with other content areas in innovative ways. The concepts we work with are patterns, structure & function, cause & effect, stability & change, and systems & models.

Community Leadership

We feel a responsibility to support students and organizations beyond our walls. We reach about 100 outside students per ___ with external programming.

Excellence in Math and Science

Math and Science Academics

Selections for math and science curricular programs were researched and chosen by elementary math and science specialists in their fields. They provide the bedrock for math and science learning.


Adequate and appropriate time dedicated to math and science learning. Students spends 5 hours per week in math and 1.5 hours per week (grades 1-4) and 4 hours per week (grade 5) in science.

program stability and sustainability

Expertise and Specialists

In order to go beyond basic math and science instruction, the school has built STEM specialization into the human resources goals. We currently have 7 faculty members who are exclusively STEM focused.

Materials and Structure

For STEM programs to be rigorous, stable, and sustainable, they must have firm philosophical frameworks, models. and definitions to support current components and guide additions from the larger community.

Budget and Financing

All programs need financial predictability and sustainability to support initiation and growth. Our program began with a very modest budget and has grown with the program to support its increasing needs, new ideas, and pilots.

Organizational Structure

STEM requires leadership and intra-departmental collaboration.


Families are our partners, and our community connections help elevate, sustain and enrich our program.


STEM Program innovation and diversity is linked inherently to technology.

STEM Spotlight


Alexis Soffler, MAT, PhD
STEM and Science Coordinator

Dr. Alexis Soffler joined the CESJDS team as a STEM Education Specialist in 2013. She has spearheaded the expansion of the STEM program at CESJDS, including co-developing elementary school-wide programs, events such as the STEM Challenge, and the launch of the iLab. Prior to CESJDS, she held several other STEM-related teaching positions in Colorado where her passion for the subject grew. She is excited to work with students and teachers who are invested in the exciting educational space of STEM.