Willis STEAM Academy
for Gifted and Talented
The Willis STEAM Academy for Gifted and Talented Students is a challenging, accelerated, cross-curricular opportunity for students in the Chandler Unified School District. Our program is a continuation of the CATS (Chandler Academically Talented Students) program. Students learn the foundations of problem solving and critical thinking, while enjoying extensive content rich activities that will prepare them for the Honors/AP/IB programs of CUSD high schools and beyond. Students advance through three years of math curriculum in the two years they are at Willis and can enter high school ready to take Honors Algebra II. A science modeling curriculum engages students with dynamic inquiry-based experiences where they gain an understanding of science that is integrated, deep, and complex. In Social Studies, students are exposed to extended opportunities for critical thinking as topics are covered more in-depth and primary sources are used for multiple perspectives. Students synthesize causes and effects of events of history to current events of today.
Willis STEAM Academy teachers leverage technology effectively in order to engage students, enrich student understanding of content, and enable ease of student workflow. Willis is a Verizon Innovative Learning School and a Google Apps For Education school and is equipped with WI-FI, computer labs, netbooks, and Chromebooks that enable us to foster 21st century skills daily.
The Willis STEAM Academy schedule and curriculum allow for students to participate in passion-based and problem-based opportunities beyond the school walls. We have fostered partnerships with Arizona State University School of Sustainability and the Built Environment in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, with SAE International’s A World in Motion program, Orbital ATK, ASU Polytechnic Campus, and the Robotics Education and Competition Foundation. Students can participate in a variety of events, projects, and competitions including Science Fair, Defined STEM, Robotics Competitions, Rube Goldberg Machine challenge, Sigma Math, Knowledge Bowl, Aerospace Challenge, and more.
Willis STEAM Academy students are part of a larger community. The highly acclaimed Willis Junior High music program has eight different options and competes in national competitions yearly (various levels of Jazz, Band, Choir, and Orchestra). Over 15 student-created clubs help keep students connected and engaged! Clubs include chess, culinary, dance club, STEAM Machines, and Vex Robotics, which traveled to Louisville, Kentucky to compete in the world championships last two years. Each year, students can compete in 12 different competitive and no-cut sports within the East Valley Conference. Willis offers technology electives including Project Lead the Way, Photoshop, and Web Design. Students can get involved in a variety of community service activities including clothing drives, fundraisers, recycling projects, and more.Three core values drive daily social and classroom interactions, and a school-wide executive functions curriculum helps to ensure students are prepared socially, emotionally, and academically.