Discovery STEM Academy

Travis Humble, Principal

The Discovery STEM Academy’s curriculum features an innovative, problem-based learning design rooted in STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Each unit includes a real-world problem that students must solve by assuming a potential career and applying learning gained throughout the unit of study. Students work collaboratively using a design process that encourages critical thinking and problem solving.

By focusing on engineering and hands-on experiences, students at Discovery STEM Academy build a culture of learning with their peers as well as their teachers. Our educators prepare young learners to be proficient readers and writers, skilled problem solvers, adept communicators and socially responsible citizens through the STEM approach, which equips students with 21st century college, career and citizen-ready skills.

In addition to an interactive curriculum designed around science, technology, engineering and math, students in the magnet program will receive a solid foundation in reading and writing, social studies, music, art, health and physical education. Like all Newport News elementary schools, Discovery STEM Academy integrates these subject areas into a curriculum that meets all state Standards of Learning.

What is distinctive about this program?

At Discovery STEM Academy, we use the design process to guide every day learning. We are one of the few schools that fully integrates our STEM program within our curriculum. Our curriculum, instruction and class room management are all tied to the design process to allow students to lead their own learning and to make relevant connections everyday.
The Discovery STEM Academy is designed to allow students to discover how, when and where they learn best. The campus features:

  • 36 classrooms
  • Collaborative learning zones for each grade level for break outs and group instruction
  • Nutrition Lab with kitchen and dining area
  • Fitness Lab (gymnasium)
  • Student Gallery and Success Wall for displaying projects
  • Two-level media center with a project-based learning area
  • Courtyard with outdoor learning spaces
  • Amphitheater with a stage that connects to the fitness lab for indoor and outdoor performances
  • Individual reading nooks and student lounge
  • I-Wonder Walls where students can write questions or engage in online research
  • Community resource area
  • Edible garden located adjacent to the nutrition lab

Who is eligible?

All students are welcome to apply for the Discovery STEM Academy, which will accept applications for students who will be in grades 3 - 5 for the 2023-24 school year. This magnet program is well suited for students who have an interest in hands-on science, technology, engineering and math. Current Discovery STEM Academy students and their siblings have priority. If there are more applicants than there are spaces, students will be selected by computer lottery.

How do I apply?

All students who wish to attend the Discovery STEM Academy must submit an application by the January deadline. Applications are available at any Newport News school, the Administration Building and on the Newport News Public Schools website at

Transportation is provided to all magnet programs.

What does the program require of parents?

Families are expected to be partners in education at the Discovery STEM Academy and sign an agreement to:

  • Be involved in their child’s education
  • Support the magnet program
  • Communicate regularly with teacher
  • Support regular and timely attendance
  • Volunteer regularly