STEM Programs

With science and technology becoming a larger emphasis, Missouri requires schools to have STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) programs in order to prepare students for life in a world centered around technology.

“I feel that the STEM programs offer incredible opportunities for people to get an edge in college and their field having specialized classes in these areas is incredibly important,” senior Brennan O’Reilly said.

STEM programs include four levels of engineering, four levels of biomedical science, and four levels of computer science classes. Even with the programs currently offered, some students want more.

“A year-long internship in the field they have been studying for 2-3 years beforehand,” O’Reilly said.

“A class centered around tools and machines used by engineers in the workforce,” senior Falan Cody said.

STEM programs can include a range of classes ranging from aerospace engineering to biochemistry to statistics. As well as classes that start when students are in preschool to set them on the path

“The STEM classes taught me the process that we always use when coming up with our robot designs, and when we get to building the robot,” Cody said.

However, some students are worried that if more attention is paid to the STEM program other areas may suffer.

“ I find it hard to believe STEM has greater importance over the fine arts,” junior Andrea Lin said. “limited resources mean it’s costing other programs.” According to the final agreed upon budget from the Missouri House of Representatives for the 2019 fiscal year, the STEM program will be getting a career awareness program with $250,000 worth of funding for elementary and secondary schools. Meanwhile, the fine arts academies will be receiving $125,000.
“So, making STEM “cool” for girls to go into, and doing more to destigmatize “feminine” traits so boys see the value in them too, can do far more for our STEM programs than simply increasing funds or “paying more attention” to them,” Lin said. According to the National Girls Collaborative Project women only make up 29 percent of the science and engineering workforce.

The STEM program is part of the PLTW program, which has projects at every level of schooling. PLTW Launch focuses on students that are Pre-K to fifth grade. PLTW Gateway focuses on students who are in grades six through eight. Once in high school, students can be a part of one or more of three field-specific programs: PLTW Computer Science, PLTW Biomedical Science, and PLTW Engineering.