Why Santiago STEAM Magnet?

What is STEAM?

What is STEAM?

STEAM logo

STEAM Education focuses on integrating each element (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Design, and Mathematics into highly engaging projects that not only address our California Standards, but prepare students with the skills necessary for college and careers of the future. Students in our high-level STEAM school will work actively to solve problems, take ownership of their learning, and apply content in real-world contexts.

What is Project Based Learning?

Project Based Learning

Santiago STEAM Magnet will focus on High Quality Project Based Learning to drive instruction throughout the day.

Project Based Learning is a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to an authentic, engaging and complex question, problem, or challenge. In Gold Standard PBL, projects are focused on student learning goals and include Essential Project Design Elements:

  • Key Knowledge, Understanding, and Success Skills - The project is focused on student learning goals, including standards-based content and skills such as critical thinking/problem solving, communication, collaboration, and self-management.
  • Challenging Problem or Question - The project is framed by a meaningful problem to solve or a question to answer, at the appropriate level of challenge.
  • Sustained Inquiry - Students engage in a rigorous, extended process of asking questions, finding resources, and applying information.
  • Authenticity - The project features real-world context, tasks and tools, quality standards, or impact – or speaks to students’ personal concerns, interests, and issues in their lives.
  • Student Voice & Choice - Students make some decisions about the project, including how they work and what they create.
  • Reflection - Students and teachers reflect on learning, the effectiveness of their inquiry and project activities, the quality of student work, obstacles and how to overcome them.
  • Critique & Revision - Students give, receive, and use feedback to improve their process and products.
  • Public Product - Students make their project work public by explaining, displaying and/or presenting it to people beyond the classroom.

*From the Buck Institute for Education


Take a look at our Santiago STEAM Magnet Flyer!


On January 23, 2018, Saddleback Valley Unified School District approved Santiago Elementary to become a STEAM Magnet school for the 2018-2019 school year. This is a great honor and will lead to amazing outcomes for all our students. 

Santiago STEAM Magnet Elementary School has a long standing reputation of being the "School Among the Trees" and the place that students and parents feel part of a family. We are passionately focused on developing intelligent, creative and kind young adults. Our teaching staff collaborate together to monitor progress of all students, use research-based instructional strategies, and above all create a welcoming and engaging environment.

STEAM education is a creative and purpose-driven approach grounded in content knowledge, skills, and cognitive processes, whose purpose is to empower all learners to positively impact our global community.  We focus on the integration of each STEAM domain (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics).

Santiago STEAM Magnet HQPBL (High Quality Project Based Learning) Units are developed and approved by our talented educators before going live in a classroom, while also allowing for voice and choice from students.  Each trimester will culminate with an Ignite Night where students have an opportunity to share their ongoing work with peers, parents and community members in order to grow in their ability to solve complex problems.

Santiago STEAM Magnet continues to improve our knowledge and expertise in supporting our students’ social-emotional development. To that end, we follow our district’s Digital Citizenship Curriculum developed in combination with Common Sense Media. We have also included the Second Step Social-Emotional Learning Program, which is designed to give students the tools they need to excel in and out of the classroom. The program is focused on developing skills in emotion management, situational awareness, and academic achievement.

College and Career Awareness is an exciting endeavor at Santiago STEAM Magnet.  We have developed a Career Day. Members of the community come together to share their love of their careers. Last year, we had over 45 presentations! Lastly, we have developed Field Trip Tours to high schools, community colleges, and state and private universities within southern California. All grades participate in one trip per year to gain a new perspective on higher education for free.

  • Kindergarten: El Toro High School
  • First Grade: Saddleback College
  • Second Grade: Irvine Valley College
  • Third Grade: California State University, Long Beach
  • Fourth Grade: California State University, Fullerton
  • Fifth Grade: University of California, Irvine
  • Sixth Grade: Chapman University

Technology is at the forefront of education and Santiago STEAM Magnet is leading the way.  Lower grade students have access to iPad, while upper grade students revel in the use of Chromebooks. One special area of focus is Math. We participate school wide in the use of ST Math. The program was designed by the MIND Institute and uses visual game play and critical thinking to develop math skills. To move further, we are transforming our Library into the "Innovation Lab" to foster research strategies, creativity, collaboration, and presentation skills to support our young 21st Century learners.

All of this happens because we have a dedicated staff and PTA. Our PTA is focused on enriching the lives of all students and parents. We start the year off with an Ice Cream Social! Our PTA funds and supports our Fall Festival, Family Fun Nights, Red Ribbon Week, Book Fair, Jog-a-Thon, and Bagels with a Loved One. You will want to add them all to your calendar.

And, speaking of calendars...Santiago use Bloomz!

Bloomz is a school communication app that gives you the ability to be up to date on all things going on a Santiago. Once signed up, you will have access to our school and class calendars, current events, posts from teachers and administration, and volunteer opportunities. Bloomz gives you all access in to what is happening in your child’s class. Do you speak another language? No Problem - Bloomz translates instantly in the language of your choice.

To show our children that learning is a life long endeavor, Santiago offers monthly parent workshops ranging from Digital Citizenship to Homework Alternatives to Reading Strategies. This offers parents the opportunity to increase their knowledge and understanding and to support their children in this increasingly complex world.

As you can see, Santiago STEAM Magnet has everything you are looking for and more! Want to learn more? Stop on by or call to set up a tour.

Howard Johnston

Questions and Answers

What other advantages are there for attending Santiago?

  • Uniquely Designed Curriculum
  • Flexible Learning Environments
  • All Day Kindergarten
  • Innovation Lab
  • Ignite Nights
  • College Field Trips for students and parents
  • UnHomework Policy
  • School-Wide Mobile Device Program
  • Second Step: A Social/Emotional Curriculum Program
  • Bloomz: A School-wide Communication App

If my child is on School Choice at Santiago now, can they stay next year?

Yes. Any student who has already Choiced into Santiago, will continue on next year.

After attending Santiago STEAM Magnet School, will my child continue with STEAM at intermediate and high school?

Both Serrano Intermediate and El Toro High School have STEAM programs and are working with Santiago and district administration to align our schools to increase each school's program.

Santiago is not our home school, can I still attend?

If you are part of our SVSUD family and would like to attend Santiago next year, you will need to apply for School Choice between March 4 - 29.

If SVUSD is not your home district, we do have a process to apply to Santiago. You will need to complete an INTER District Transfer. More information can be found soon on our district's website.


Will you have enough space for my child to attend?

If you are interested, please apply. We will make every effort to accept as many students based on space availability. All students who live in Santiago's boundary will have first priority.

Do you know the hours for students next year?

While there is always a chance it could change, we are planning to have the same hours we do now. All students will arrive by 8:10am. Learning hours are from 8:15am to 2:20pm.

Is the STEAM Magnet a program or school wide?

Santiago STEAM Magnet is school wide. It is for all students, all day.

Will grading be different than a traditional elementary school?

As a district, all elementary schools have moved to a standards-based reporting system.  There are no more letter grades.  Rubrics based on a four scale system is used.  This system supports the type of project-based learning at Santiago.  Most of the work, including student projects, are scored using a rubric system.

Will teachers have training to support STEAM instruction?

Yes. All teachers at Santiago STEAM Magnet will be provided with ongoing training beginning this school year, over the summer and throughout next school year. Professional development will continue to evolve as new research and best practices are established and become available.

I am unable to attend the informational meetings. How else can I learn about your STEAM Magnet school?

Our principal has also scheduled two school tours.  Please give our office a call for dates and times.

If my child is struggling in school, will they still receive extra support?

Yes. We have foundational block times for Language Arts and Mathematics.  This is a time that all students are receiving support or enrichment in their specific areas.  Many of our grades mix students during this time to group students with like needs.

My child attends Oxford Preparatory Academy - Saddleback Valley. Can my child Choice in to Santiago?

Oxford Prep is not a part of Saddleback Valley Unified School District.  If your home school is Santiago, but you chose to attend Oxford Prep, you can enroll in Santiago.  If you live outside the home boundaries of Santiago, you will need to use the Choice process and do so within the Choice window.