STEAM: is a Department, (a group of content areas, Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics, plus Health and Physical Education) and a program (specific courses, programs and a philosophy of instruction). STEAM as a program can express itself via electives (e.g. Engineer, Construct, Design 6-8), school wide initiatives (e.g. Boise Elliot Humboldt Elementary), and content embedded experiences (e.g. MakerSpace). The vision for the STEAM Program in PPS is: Integrative STEAM emphasizes a transformative approach to instruction that provides hands-on, experiential, and cross-curricular teaching and learning opportunities for all students. Tsupros defines STEAM as an instructional settings where rigorous academic concepts are coupled with real-world lessons as students apply science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in contexts that make connections between school, community, work, and the global enterprise enabling the development of STEM literacy and with it the ability to compete in the new economy. (Tsupros, 2009)

    Mission: To support all levels of the Portland Public Schools system to facilitate instruction that features dynamic problem-solving and integrated, personalized, and contextualized learning experiences.

    Vision: In order to develop emotionally and physically healthy, fully-engaged 21st-century citizens, Portland Public Schools believes every student should participate in instruction that features dynamic problem-solving and integrated, personalized, and contextualized learning experiences. These transformative school and community-based experiences will be a catalyst critical for closing the racial, gender, linguistic, and economic opportunity gaps.

  • Dr. Sarah Davis' Bio

    Dr. Sarah Davis has more than 25 years of experience working with students to deepen their understanding of STEAM discipline concepts and with teachers to develop pedagogies that work from the students' perspective.  Dr. Davis came to Portland Public Schools in 2016 from Education Northwest, where she worked on math-focused projects through the Northwest Comprehensive Center.  Prior to that she was a Mathematics Education faculty member at the College of Charleston and had spent six years at Singapore's National Institute of Education, the only teacher-certification institution in Singapore, as a Learning Sciences & Technologies faculty member and researcher.  Dr. Davis received her undergraduate degree in communications from Concordia University and her master's and Ph.D. in mathematics education from the University of Texas at Austin.  As a public school teacher, she has had experience at the K-5, middle school, and high schools levels.  Dr. Davis has led large-scale professional development sessions in Australia, Belgium, Canada, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore, The United Kingdom, and the United States.  She is motivated by a deeply held belief that all students can be successful in STEAM.  

STEAM/HPE Contacts

Dr. Sarah Davis
Sr. Director of STEAM
Dr. Susan Holveck
Program Administrator for Science
Dr. Kristin Moon
Program Administrator for STEAM
Kristen Brayson
Program Administrator for Visual & Performing Arts
Patrice Woods
Director of Mathematics
Dr. Jenny Withycombe
Program Administrator for Health & Physical Education
STEAM Programs Manager
Rachel Larsen
STEAM Administrative Assistant