STEM Education in Charter Schools

As enrollment in charter schools grows and the value of education in subjects related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) increases, some school districts are developing STEM-focused charter schools in order to capitalize on these trends.  Charter schools such as the Energized for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (E-STEM) Academy, Inc. in Houston, Texas boast benefits that can help better engage students in the classroom.  These benefits include a small school atmosphere, an innovative learning environment, and committed and highly qualified teachers and administrators.  Furthermore, since it is tuition-free, E-STEM Academy, Inc. provides promising low-income students with access to a high quality education in the STEM subjects.

STEM-focused charter schools can further encourage innovation through STEM-centric extracurricular activities.  For example, STEM High and Middle School in Highlands Ranch, Colorado offers Expanded Learning Opportunities both before and after normal school hours through the STEM Academy.  These opportunities include a Rocketry Club and teams that will represent the school at The Department of Energy’s Office of Science National Science Bowl and the BEST (Boosting Engineering Science Technology) Robotics Competition Team.

The hope is that STEM-focused charter schools can help promising charter school students to become proficient in STEM subjects.  This can both serve them well as they prepare to enter a job market in which workers with such proficiency are in demand, and can benefit America as it continues to innovate and compete in the modern global economy.  As Scott Thomson, Co-Founder and Board Member of the North Idaho STEMCharter Academy, stated in the Coeur d’Alene Press, “We need to prepare our fish to swim in a bigger pond, so to speak, because we’re competing with China, India, Brazil and Russia.  Quite frankly, right now, the momentum is on their side and we need to do something to catch up.”

Posted by: Erica Pincus

Sources: E-STEM Academy, Inc., STEM High and Middle School, STEM Academy, The Coeur d’Alene Press

Photo Credit: Science Careers in Search of Women by flickr user Argonne National Laboratory

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