Designed with a challenging, college-preparatory curriculum in mind, the Ann Richards School (ARS) places an emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM), and requires students to graduate on the Texas Distinguished Achievement Program (DAP), the most rigorous in the state. Plus, 14 Advanced Placement (AP) courses including AP Biology, AP Calculus AB, AP Chemistry, AP Computer Science, AP English Language, AP English Literature, AP Environmental Science, AP Physics, AP Spanish Language, AP Statistics, AP Studio Art, AP U.S. Government, AP U.S. History, and AP World History offer students the opportunity to earn college credit.
The curriculum at ARS engages in project-based, experiential learning to enhance real-world application. Through funding provided by Impact Austin and Intel, the remodeled 2200-square-foot ARS MakerSpace, a modern-day version of a shop classroom equipped with 3D printing technology and contemporary tools, supports advanced learning opportunities to explore, experiment, create, and invent. The space encourages tinkering and compliments the school’s project-based curriculum and focus on STEAM. Students have year-round access to STEAM education to encourage leadership.
ARS curriculum offerings include collaborative projects to explore career options. Sophomores learn content through a large-scale independent project that counts as credit towards the DAP. Juniors participate in a week-long internship with Austin area business partners. Seniors undergo a Capstone project where the students are charged with starting and organizing a business to solve a complex social problem.
High school students choose one sequence of four year long courses in a STEAM Pathway–Biomedical Science, Engineering, or Media Technology. Our Media Technology Pathway courses are articulated for college credit through Austin Community College. The Biomedical Sciences and Engineering Pathways are nationally certified by Project Lead The Way (PLTW), the leading provider of rigorous and innovative STEM curriculum.
PLTW classes begin in middle school as required coursework through the Gateway to Technology curricula in order to guide students to select their STEAM Pathway. Gateway to Technology curriculum has foundational coursework in Design and Modeling, and Automation and Robotics, with specialized courses in Energy and the Environment, Flight and Space, Green Architecture, and Medical Detectives.
Our nationally-certified Biomedical Science program provides students with practical and sound research skills in their investigation of the human body, cell biology, genetic diseases and similar topics. Course offerings may include the Principles of Biomedical Sciences, Human Body Systems, Medical Interventions, and Biomedical Innovations. Students prepare for collegiate studies in fields such as forensic science, medicine, and laboratory research.
Our nationally-certified engineering curriculum develops problem-solving through rigorous projects that put to practice 21st century job skills such as collaboration, communication, and critical thinking. Course offerings may include Engineering Design, Principles of Engineering, Digital Electronics, and Aerospace Engineering. Students explore civil and environmental engineering, digital electronics, computer software, architecture, and robotics.
Media Technology centers around liberal arts and allows students to utilize state-of-the-art media. In this program, girls build skills in filmmaking, broadcasting, script writing, photography, computer graphics, podcasts and other creative ventures. Course offerings may include Audio Video Production, Multimedia and Animation, Advanced Audio and Video Production, and Problems and Solutions to Audio and Video Production.
The ARS Internship Program is a well-defined, short-term experiential learning opportunity facilitated through mutually beneficial partnerships.
Students at ARS begin preparing for college on their first day of class in the sixth grade. Extensive research has shown that setting the expectation of college attendance at an early age leads to significantly higher percentages of student college enrollment. ARS builds that expectation for each student and her family.