Learn about Ascend’s approach to science, math, engineering, and technology and apply to join our growing team of educators.
Our approach to instruction in the STEM fields
Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are critical pillars of a well-rounded liberal arts education.
Teaching science, math, and STEM electives at Ascend means leading students on an intellectual adventure through hands-on learning, experimentation, and inquiry—all while strengthening your own ability to inspire the next generation of STEM minds.
Ascend teachers have the power to equip students with the reasoning, problem-solving skills, and deep conceptual foundation they need to wrestle with the mathematical puzzles of everyday life, engage with and better understand the natural world, and devise innovative solutions to the most enduring and pressing scientific challenges. With intensive training and ongoing support from fellow educators and experts in Ascend’s inquiry-based, hands-on approach to math and science, teachers bring their passion for the STEM fields into the classroom, igniting in students a natural sense of wonder and excitement.
Apply now to join our team of teachers who spark students’ love for STEM.
Watch: Math at Ascend
STEM programming overview
Read more about Ascend's curriculum and professional development programming for those teaching STEM subjects at Ascend.
Lower and middle schools
The goal of the K-8 math program at Ascend is to develop students who are deft problem solvers, capable of achieving at the highest level of mathematics, and who have a knack for interpreting their world mathematically.
- Our Math Workshop program (grades K-4) is built on the Launch, Explore, Discuss model, in which students build enduring conceptual understanding and problem-solving skills through the concrete (manipulatives), pictorial (visual representations and models), and abstract (equations) stages of learning.
- In Number Stories (grades K-4)—founded on the tenets of cognitively guided instruction—students spend an entire period studying a single, Common Core-aligned story-problem that they might encounter in a real-world context. Students construct their own solutions, defend their thinking, and compare their approaches. Math fluency is reinforced in the routines that open each Number Stories lesson, to build automaticity and fluency in computation.
- In middle school math (grades 5-8), the Launch, Explore, Discuss model is used during one 90-minute daily period.
- In grades K-8, weekly quizzes assess previously explored (spiraled) standards to constantly appraise where students have knowledge gaps, and daily exit tickets assess understanding of current content. Teacher teams study these data points weekly and use them to plan for Response to Data (RTD) instructional periods that take place regularly on Fridays.
Apply to join our team as a K-8 math teacher.
Our lower school science program—closely aligned with the Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards—uses structured inquiry learning through the 5E model (engage, explore, explain, elaborate, evaluate). The program integrates rich content with well-conceived inquiry experiments, project-based learning, and engaging texts. Students develop their ability to observe, describe, compare, inquire, and evaluate, while studying the three dimensions of science. Each grade level contains units in life science, earth science, and physical science.
In middle school science, Ascend students harness the study of science and technology to explore issues of importance to them, their community, and society. Students examine complex and important issues that require an understanding of scientific concepts and processes; gather, interpret, and apply evidence; and engage in rich discussion and debate on the topics and results of their studies. Students learn that science is a way of asking questions and begin to appreciate the power, as well as the present limitations, of science.
In high school, students use the enduring skills and concepts they gain from Ascend’s K-8 math and science program as they engage with a wide array of content areas and topics meant to broaden and deepen their STEM knowledge.
In math, students take Common Core-aligned courses in Integrated Algebra, Geometry, Algebra II/Trigonometry, and Pre-Calculus. Advanced students have the option of choosing the honors mathematics track, and all courses ensure a deep understanding of concepts and an ability to apply mathematical concepts to the real world.
The study of science and technology encourages students to explore issues of importance to them, their community, and their society. By learning how to gather and interpret scientific evidence about local and global issues, students fully appreciate the power of science and how scientists ask questions. The course of study begins with Physics and Chemistry in freshmen and sophomore year, respectively, and follows with Biology in junior year. Seniors can elect AP Biology or Ascend’s unique Maker course, which applies the engineering design process and technological skills to real-world problems and concepts. Wide-ranging, rotating STEM electives such as financial literacy or eCybermission (a competition-based technology and engineering class) allow students to align their coursework to their interests.
Apply to join our team as a high school STEM teacher.
At Ascend, we invest in your growth—training, supporting, and collaborating with you every step of the way.
Ascend’s Teacher Planning and Development (TPD) initiative affords teachers weekly opportunities to engage in the deep study of content; study and assess student work;and collaborate on the design of highly targeted, data-driven actions with colleagues on their grade or subject teams..
Every Ascend teacher receives individualized coaching from a dean of instruction—a skilled coach deeply familiar with Ascend curricula and practices and focused on a particular grade span and, in the middle and high schools, subject area. The coaching relationship fosters growth in content mastery, pedagogy, and culture, and is tailored to the teacher’s individual goals. Regular classroom observations provide opportunities for real-time feedback, while coaching sessions focus on discrete action steps that advance larger goals of practice. Live coaching allows teachers to make rapid gains and is a treasured part of the Ascend professional culture; students understand that their teachers and leaders are, like them, always looking to improve their craft.
Every Friday, students are dismissed early and schools hold professional development workshops targeted toward each school’s problems of practice.
Great ideas spread fast at Ascend through network-wide sharing of best practices. When one school’s faculty devises a smart solution to a problem, other schools, in their quest for excellence, are eager to tap it. Formal and informal mechanisms support this culture of collaboration.
During our Summer Institutes for new and returning teachers, Ascend leaders and outside specialists facilitate interactive workshops devoted to building and strengthening teachers’ skills in implementing the Ascend liberal arts curriculum—including intense study of the instructional methods deployed in math and science—and the unique Ascend culture. Ascend prides itself on the quality, rigor, and effectiveness of these sessions.
Read more about Ascend’s approach to professional development.