University School of Jackson


What is STEAM?

Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (STEAM) is an innovative educational movement that is teaching students how to a be successful in a 21st century economy. Employers, educators and parents have noticed that students thrive in problem-solving, creativity, ingenuity, critical thinking, dialogue and innovation due to these programs.

The University School of Jackson currently participates in the STEAM initiatives below and is actively adding new opportunities for students to learn using this method.

-    Integrating computers, tablets and mobile devices in the classroom
-    Lower school STEAM curriculum  
-    Bring your own device initiatives
-    Robotics instruction 
-    Robotics after school club
-    Emphasis on process-based learning
-    Setting up google email accounts for all students 4th grade and up

STEAM activities require students to ask thoughtful questions and problem solve creatively. This process starts at design and is carried all the way through to implementation. Students learn how to step away from problem solving in a methodical step-by-step way and embrace trial and error.

Activities often require students to work in groups to solve a problem using the strengths of different members of the group and letting everyone bring something to the table. 

Today’s career path is rapidly changing and USJ is preparing students to excel in a fluid environment that requires them to think for themselves and grow in innovation. Students are pushed beyond text book answers and are taught how to explore concepts that can’t be looked up on the internet. 

This curriculum is giving students the tools that they need to be innovators in whatever field they choose to pursue.



The Lower School STEAM Lab is a space for exploring, making, failing, fixing and trying things in a different way. Students are encouraged to take on unfamiliar and challenging projects in teams as they utilize their critical thinking, communication and collaboration skills. Projects include the following:

-    Coding on Code-A-Pillars (Kindergarten), Ozobots (1st-5th) & Dash and Dots (3rd-5th)
-    Computer programming 
-    Robotics
-    Lego robotics
-    3D Printers
-    3D Pens
-    Engineering design & buildouts 
-    Google classroom
-    Scratch coding summer camps


Meet the Instructors

Heidi McDaniel

Heidi McDaniel is the lower school technology teacher.

She has two children (Michael & Maggie) and one grandchild (Matthew). Matthew is currently enrolled at The University School of Jackson. She received a degree in elementary education from Lambuth University.

Her hobbies include reading, traveling and spending time with family.

Kyle Hopper

Kyle Hopper is the director of technology at the University School of Jackson. 

He is from Jackson, Tennessee and has two children, Aria & Jace. He is from Scotts Hill, TN and received a degree in computer science from the University of Memphis. 

Click the thumbnail below to launch gallery.

For More Information

Heidi McDaniel
Lower School Technology, Registrar

[email protected]


Lauren Yancey named Assistant Director of the Jones Academic Center


The University School of Jackson is pleased to announce the promotion of Lauren Yancey to Assistant Director of the Camille and Ralph Jones Academic Center (JAC). Lauren will assist the JAC Director, Christy Glenn, in the day to day operation of the center and with the instruction of qualifying USJ...

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USJ Kicks-off Phase I of New Campus Master Plan with Lower School Playground Groundbreaking


On Monday, May 20, 2019, University School of Jackson kicked off the beginning of Phase I of their Campus Master Plan with the groundbreaking of the Lower School playgrounds. Students, wearing USJ hard hats, joined together behind the Lower School to watch and cheer as a group of their peers shoveled the...

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Color of Music Winners


USJ students in Mrs. Tanner and Mrs. McPeake's art classes recently participated in the Color of Music contest sponsored by the Jackson Symphony. They listened to the selections and created artwork based on their interpretations of the music.  Congratulations to these lower and middle school art students for...

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Don Roe named Associate Head of School, Middle School Director


It is with great pleasure that the University School of Jackson announces the appointment of Mr. Don Roe as our Associate Head of School, Middle School Director. As the Associate Head of School, Don will work closely with our Head of School, Stuart Hirstein, to oversee the wellbeing of USJ...

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