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: Harrisonburg High School Governor’s STEM Academy educates a diverse group of students with a variety of interests, strengths, and backgrounds, to be academic and technical leaders in STEM related fields by creating a culture of collaboration and dynamic participation through integration of multiple disciplines and technologies utilizing distinct pathways involving advanced coursework in mathematics, science, engineering, and computer science.
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 Co-Director
5-12 Science Coordinator
Harrisonburg City Public Schools
1001 Garbers Church Road
Harrisonburg VA 22801
Academy Location: Harrisonburg High School
Number of Students Served: The Governor’s STEM Academy will have the capacity to enroll 196 students, grades 9 - 12.
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 science and mathematics education including units designed as integrative lessons in I-STEM. By creating a high school 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. The HHS Governor’s STEM Academy promotes a culture of collaboration and dynamic participation. Students have opportunities to experience and learn together through integrated instruction, field work, research, STEMinars and summer STEM events. Students in both pathways enroll in science and mathematics courses each of their four years. These include 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 far 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;
- increasing participation in dual enrollment and advanced placement courses;
- increasing students receiving diplomas with the Governor’s Seal;
- increasing the number of students receiving the Virginia Board of Education’s Seal of Advanced Mathematics and Technology;
- 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;
- increasing the number of students signing the Governor’s Early College Scholars Agreement;
- 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 enrollment and retention in postsecondary education by increasing college-bound students;
- increase the number of students completing a college and career readiness curriculum;
- reduce the proportion of students requiring remediation in college 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;
- 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.