Dublin City Schools strives to establish and maintain interdisciplinary Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) opportunities and partnerships which foster learning, scientific inquiry, and discovery. Students going into STEM careers are in high demand. According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, careers in the STEM field are projected to grow by 20.6% by 2018, while employment in all occupations is projected to grow 10.1%. Microsoft has stated that 80% of jobs in the next decade will require technology skills.
To raise awareness and build interest in STEM careers students need numerous hands-on opportunities to solve real world problems and exposure to STEM career fields. On average, a student will change their major at least three times before they graduate from college. Students can streamline their success in education and/or the workforce by having a desired pathway in mind when graduating from high school. Examples of real-life applications that exercise 21st century skills and infuse career exploration results in college and career-ready students.
Research has shown that one third of fourth graders have lost an interest in science. By eighth grade, almost 50% have lost interest or decided to go into other fields. Studies on girls in STEM show that they lose interest due to lack of preparation and confidence. To help reverse this trend, Dublin City Schools introduces STEM topics to students through problem-based, experiential learning very early in their academic career. Students across the district experience hands-on learning that combines content, real world scenarios and career exploration. As a student grows additional opportunities for STEM specific classes are available. Dublin offers Project Lead the Way classes starting in eighth grade and continuing through high school.
At the high school level, Dublin has STEM based courses available to all students through Applied Science and Alternate Programs. Included are unique STEM Academies are available to students in eleventh and twelfth grade. A description of the three academies can be found within the Dublin STEM Wiki link below. All academies are open for enrollment meaning any student from one of the three district high schools can enroll. Typically, a student needs to be able to transport himself or herself to the academy site and will start or end their day at the academy school. For example, the Engineering Design Academy is housed at Coffman. Students start at Coffman for the first several periods of the day and then return to their home school. This allows ample time for integrated, interdisciplinary, problem-based learning. The other available academies work in the same fashion. The academy topics include Biomedical Research, Engineering Design, Energy and the Environment, Business, Teaching and Young Professionals. More high quality career focused programs are available at Tolles Technical Center (http://www.tollestech.com).
For more information on STEM in Dublin City schools including course availability, flyers and opportunities and breaking news, please visit the Dublin STEM Wiki.