Underwood STEM (USTEM)

Underwood's STEM program, USTEM, provides students with a learning environment rooted in and dedicated to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. The program, which opened in the fall of 2017, is modeled after the Wauwatosa School District’s successful first charter school, Wauwatosa STEM.

With a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, USTEM provides an innovative and dynamic learning environment where students are encouraged to inquire, investigate and discover the world around them with hands-on, project-based learning. Students in grades K-5 learn in multi-age classrooms and receive differentiated instruction. This approach allows our students the opportunity to become independent, self-monitoring learners, and to develop future focused skills in the areas of: „

  • Problem-solving

  • Critical thinking

  • Collaboration

  • Communication

  • Creativity

USTEM provides students with optimum educational opportunities by providing an environment rich in parental involvement, community participation and strategic educational partnerships. Our work is to produce students who are college and career ready, equipped to conquer the challenges of the 21st Century.


students exploring butterfly habitat

In the STEM program, students collaborate in multi-age classrooms. This dynamic provides several benefits to the students’ learning. Children are able to spend longer periods of time with the same teacher, allowing the teacher to develop a deeper understanding of each child’s strengths and needs. Additionally, older children have the opportunity to serve as mentors and to take leadership roles. Additionally, older children model more sophisticated approaches to problem solving, and younger children are able to accomplish tasks they could not do without the assistance of older children. This dynamic increases the older child’s level of independence, competence, ownership of work, and self-direction. Children are exposed to positive models for behavior and social skills. In this environment, children are more likely to collaborate than compete. The spirit of cooperation and caring makes it possible for children to help each other as individuals, not see each other as competitors.


students working on stem project

In a project-based setting, students learn by doing, creating, overcoming obstacles, working through challenges, and communicating with members of a team, just as they will need to do one day in a career. Science, Technology, Engineering and Math are the content area platforms through which other subjects are taught. This may include bringing in experts from the field, like faculty members from university engineering departments, to show the impact engineering has in our everyday lives. It can also include field trips to the medical center to observe how engineering and technology are transforming medical science or simply studying the rich biodiversity of our campus, knowing it is a measure of the health of our environment and it needs to be studied and kept healthy.


students outside looking at tree

Our students’ individual needs are met in a cooperative, supportive learning community through an engaging and challenging curriculum rooted in the sciences and technology. The USTEM curriculum is distinctive from others available in our district, with the focus of science, technology, engineering and math infused into the study of literacy, writing, mathematics, social studies and the arts. We focus on 21st Century Learning skills that include new and innovative approaches to teaching both content and lifelong skills. This focus utilizes a variety of techniques for students to build their own understanding through real-world problem solving and collaboration. It provides an environment that promotes creativity and innovation.