Governor’s STEM Academy at Harrisonburg High School
Project Title: Governor’s STEM Academy at Harrisonburg High School
Program Lead: Harrisonburg City Public Schools
Program Focus: The proposed Harrisonburg High School Governor’s STEM Academy emphasizes an integrative (I-STEM) learning approach to prepare students for meeting the challenges of today and the near future. The I-STEM model consists of specific units that are collaboratively developed based on the Science Standards of Learning and integrated with those from language arts, mathematics, social science, technology as well as engineering content.
Academy Website: Governor’s STEM Academy at Harrisonburg High School
Application: Board Of Education Approved Governor’s Academy Application (PDF)
Partnership Members: Harrisonburg City Public Schools, James Madison University, Blue Ridge Community College, Blackwell Engineering, Rockingham Group, Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative, Serco, Kawneer, Shenandoah Valley Technology Counsel, Stanford Research Institute
Lead Entity & Fiscal Agent: Harrisonburg City Public Schools
HHS Governor’s STEM Academy Coordinator
5-12 Science Coordinator
Harrisonburg City Public Schools
One Court Square
Harrisonburg VA 22801
Academy Location: Harrisonburg High School
Number of Students Served: The Governor’s STEM Academy will have the capacity to enroll 296 students, grades 9 - 12. During the initial school year (2013-2014) 98 students will be admitted.
Career Pathways: Science and Mathematics, Engineering and Technology
Academy Overview: Harrisonburg City Public Schools (HCPS) provides all students in all five elementary schools and both middle schools with daily science and mathematics education including units designed as integrative lessons in I-STEM. By creating a Governor’s STEM Academy, HCPS expects to raise student aspirations and attract more students to postsecondary education in preparation for the career pathways of Engineering and Technology, and Science and Mathematics.
In the seventh and eighth grades, students have an opportunity to participate in the Middle School STEM Exploration Academy, where they integrate career and technical education courses with science courses and explore different career options based on their interests. Whether students choose to apply to and enter the Harrisonburg High School Governor’s STEM Academy in either of the two pathways, they will have access to Advanced Placement and dual enrollment science and mathematics courses as well as the opportunity to receive postsecondary certificates including the Governor’s certificate of recognition for the Early College Scholars Program. Students entering engineering and technology pathways will be completers in Engineering Studies. Coursework will be enhanced through integration with physics, algebra II, Earth Science, chemistry, and English. Students in both pathways will take science and mathematics courses their junior and senior years, including several Advanced Placement and dual enrollment courses with the opportunity for mentorships or internships with Academy’s higher education and/or business partners that include: James Madison University, Blue Ridge Community College, Blackwell Engineering, Rockingham Group, Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative, Serco, Kawneer, Shenandoah Valley Technology Counsel, and Stanford Research Institute.
Students in the Academy will be immersed in problem and project-based learning in grades nine through twelve. Students in both pathways are required to participate in extracurricular activities including, but are not limited to the Academic Competition Team, Bib Blue ‘Botics (HHS FIRST Robotics team), Environthon, and attendance at local science and mathematics lectures.
According to the Virginia Workforce Connection, as of September 10, 2012, there were 14,200 unfilled professional, scientific, and technical services jobs in Virginia. Graduates seeking well-paying careers need not search fare if their skill sets are a match for the opportunities. In Harrisonburg and neighboring Rockingham County, there are many science and technology-oriented businesses and industries looking to hire talented, well-educated workers. The positions available include those requiring some college and experience as well as those requiring engineering associate’s degrees, Masters of Engineering, and Doctorates.
Students graduating from the Harrisonburg High School Governor’s STEM Academy will have a strong academic preparation for entering a four-year college majoring in a wide variety of STEM fields. They will be well-prepared to continue education in any of Virginia’s high-demand fields of economic growth as identified by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, including: food processing, clean energy, biotechnology research and development, federal security agencies and providers, information technology, aerospace, and global logistics.
Academy Goals: The goal of the Harrisonburg City Public Schools Governor’s STEM Academy is to promote student achievement and interest in STEM career fields to prepare students for global competitiveness in high-skill, high-wage, and high-demand STEM careers.
Academy Objectives: The following program objectives and performance measures have been established by the Planning/Advisory Committee:
- preparing students for entry into continued education in a STEM field at the college or university level;
- developing 21st century skills through team approach to problem-based learning;
- allowing teachers and students to dissolve artificial barriers between disciplines;
- increasing the number of students meeting the requirements of the Advanced Studies Diploma by 10 percent over the next four years from 143 in 2012 to 157 in 2017;
- increasing participation in dual enrollment and advanced placement courses by 10 percent over the next four years from 336 in 2012 to 369 in 2017;
- increasing students receiving diplomas with the Governor’s Seal by 30 percentage points over the next four years from 21 in 2012 to 27 in 2017;
- increasing the number of students receiving the Virginia Board of Education’s Seal of Advanced Mathematics and Technology from zero in 2012 to 15 in 2017;
- increasing the number of students participating in the Pre-Engineering Assessment by National Occupational Competency Testing Institute (NOCTI) or the Engineering Technology Examination by SkillsUSA from zero in 2012 to 20 in 2017;
- increasing the number of students signing the Governor’s Early College Scholars Agreement from zero in 2012 to 50 in 2017;
- students will conduct a capstone STEM project in their senior year;
- students will all have field experiences to gain knowledge in a STEM career;
- students will have work-based experiences through either their capstone STEM project or field experience;
- increase the HCPS on time graduation by 4 percent from 85.3 percent in 2012 to 88.7 percent in 2017;
- decrease the HCPS dropout rate by 50 percent from 5.8 percent in 2012 to 2.9 percent in 2017;
- increase enrollment and retention in postsecondary education by increasing college-bound students by 5 percent from 74 percent in 2012 to 77.7 percent in 2017;
- increase the number of students completing a college and career readiness curriculum by increasing number of students with an advanced diploma by 10 percent from 43.5 percent in 2012 to 47.9 percent in 2017;
- reduce the proportion of students requiring remediation in college by 5 percent from 2012-2017 as measured by the number of students who meet the basic college entrance criteria as determined by the Virginia Community College System; and
- increase the number of graduates employed in high-wage, high-demand and high-skill careers as monitored by postgraduate surveys.
To measure these goals for the Harrisonburg High School Governor’s STEM Academy, HCPS will:
- analyze Standards of Learning scores, AP Scores and grades in mathematics and science;
- participate in research related to science competency and attitudes through a grant at James Madison University;
- monitor the attainment of college credits through dual enrollment and AP scores;
- track internships and field placements for all students;
- follow students through postsecondary academic choices and careers;
- provide graduates with a rigorous and complete college and workplace readiness curriculum that meets the requirements of the Commonwealth Scholars Course of Study in each designated pathway; and
- incorporate Virginia’s Workplace Readiness Skills.
Highlights of the Program: As a result of participating in the Governor’s STEM Academy in the pathways of Science and Mathematics, and Engineering and Technology, students will:
- Gain a deeper understanding of the skills and knowledge incorporated in their fields of study;
- Benefit from specialized, project-based courses which develop critical-thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making skills, preparing them for the 21st century world;
- Acquire greater communication skills;
- Develop workplace readiness skills;
- Receive opportunities to earn industry certifications preparing them to be more competitive in the work force and when applying to advanced training schools or postsecondary institutions;
- Obtain meaningful, real-life, hands-on experiences in their career pathway; and
- Profit from opportunities for internships, mentorships, job shadowing, and cooperative education, which provide students with advantages when entering postsecondary education and/or the workplace.