Friday, January 13, 2012

2012 STEM schools to receive cash grants

Rep. Tina Orwall
Last April we reported that employers in our state are looking for professionals in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (known as STEM fields), and we cited some of the steps taken in recent years to increase advanced degree production in Washington state.

One of those steps was the Enhanced STEM instruction measure (HB 2621) sponsored by Rep. Tina Orwall, which passed the Legislature unanimously in 2010.

That law required the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction to designate a number of schools to serve as “lighthouses” that offer technical assistance and advice to school districts and communities regarding best practices in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics instruction. STEM schools are effective in helping a wide range of students excel in math and sciences in preparation for college, as well as providing them with the skills to compete for high-tech job opportunities. 

An OSPI release earlier this week announced that this year five schools and an entire district will be serving as lighthouse or STEM schools:
  • Eastmont Junior High School (Eastmont School District)
  • Secondary Academy for Success (Northshore)
  • Science and Math Institute (Tacoma)
  • Stewart Middle School (Tacoma)
  • Toppenish High School (Toppenish)
  • Odessa School District

Each of the five schools and one district will receive $20,000 grants to promote and develop STEM education, including technical assistance and advice for other middle schools and high schools that are creating their own STEM environments, in compliance with HB 2621.

Orwall said that she applauds “the great work being done throughout our state to prepare students for careers in STEM fields, which are essential to strengthen our workforce.”

Two schools and one district were awarded Lighthouse grants in 2011; you can read about it here.

To read this story in Spanish, click here.