Governor’s STEM Academy at Christiansburg High School
Project Title: Governor’s STEM Academy at Christiansburg High School
Program Lead: Montgomery County Public Schools
Program Focus: The Montgomery County Governor’s STEM Academy, in collaboration with its partners, offers a program of study to expand students’ knowledge and skills in STEM literacy as it relates to advanced manufacturing. Students will gain the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the technologically-rich workplace by learning how to work in teams, communicate effectively, and apply the principles and skill sets in STEM fields.
Academy Website: MCPS Governor’s STEM Academy
Application: Board of Education Approved Governor’s Academy Application (PDF)
Partnership Members: Montgomery County Public Schools; Virginia Tech; Montgomery County Department of Economic Development; New River Community College; Jeld-Wen Interior Doors; Automation Creations; OWPR Architects and Engineers; Moog Components Group; and NRV Competitiveness Center
Lead Entity & Fiscal Agent: Montgomery County Public Schools
Montgomery County High School
750 Imperial Street, SE
Phone: 540-382-5100 Ext. 1048
Academy Location: Christiansburg High School
Number of Students Served: The Governor’s STEM Academy has the capacity to enroll 150 students, grades 9 -12.
Career Pathways: Engineering & Technology, Information Support & Services, Manufacturing Production Process Development, and Production.
Academy Overview: The proposed Montgomery County Public Schools Governor’s STEM Academy is located at Christiansburg High School; however, some of the Academy courses are offered at the division’s other three high schools as well. Students who attend the smaller high schools are eligible to continue a chosen program of study at Christiansburg High School with transportation provided.
Virginia Employment Commission data indicates that the manufacturing industry employs the second largest number of all industries and ranks fifth in the current number of advertised jog openings in the New River Community College Region. Montgomery County is the largest county served by the New River Community College. Jobs related to STEM, manufacturing, and information technology career clusters are in the top ten occupation groups represented by jobs advertised in the same region. The Montgomery County Governor’s STEM Academy, in collaboration with its partners, offers a program of study to expand students’ knowledge and skills in STEM literacy as it relates to advanced manufacturing. Students will gain the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the technologically-rich workplace by learning how to work in teams, communicate effectively, and apply the principles and skill sets in STEM fields. A FIRST Robotics design and build team project is the primary the co-curricular component for all six pathways offered. This project is scheduled as an after school course to allow students from all pathways to participate.
The FIRST Robotics program is built around a series of year-long elective courses taught by teachers from career and technical education (CTE), mathematics, and science in an after-school setting. This program is supported by Virginia Tech mechanical engineering students and professors. High school students achieve a level of familiarity and literacy in engineering and other STEM content while university students apply their engineering skills as mentors.
During the junior or senior year, Academy students will have the opportunity to apply their knowledge of STEM, as well as 21st century skills, in a real-world work experience by participating in job shadowing, internships, and/or cooperative experiences related to their chosen career path.
The pathways will have clear postsecondary objectives outlined through articulation with New River Community College, Radford University, and Virginia Tech. Every pathway in the Academy will culminate in a program of study at one of these three institutions. Whenever possible, both academic and CTE courses will be offered as dual enrolled courses through New River Community College, Radford University or through the network of Project Lead the Way colleges.
In summary, the Governor’s STEM Academy provides awareness and opportunity for students and will increase the number of well-trained workers in areas that have been designated as high demand and high tech in business and industry. Offering parallel pathways with multiple post-graduation objectives will help students choose the best path before high school graduation.
Academy Goals: The goal of the Montgomery County 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:
- Increase the percentage of Governor’s STEM Academy students taking Algebra II by four percent over the next four years.
- Increase the percentage of Governor’s STEM Academy students scoring pass/advanced on mathematics and science end-of-course Standards of Learning tests by four percent over the next four years.
- Increase the number of postsecondary credits earned through dual enrollment, Advanced Placement courses, and the Jumpstart program by five percent over the next four years.
- Provide annually, one hundred percent of the Governor’s STEM Academy students with workplace readiness experiences, through strong partnerships with local businesses.
- Increase the graduation rate for Christiansburg High School by four percent over the next four years.
- Reduce the dropout rate for Christiansburg High School by two percent over the next four years.
- Increase enrollment and retention in postsecondary education by giving Governor’s STEM Academy students the opportunity to earn dual enrollment credit (see bullet number three above) and by providing at least three opportunities annually for Governor’s STEM Academy students and their parents to learn about postsecondary opportunities available at New River Community College, Virginia Tech and other postsecondary institutions. After high school, Governor’s STEM Academy students will complete the Career and Technical Education follow-up survey to determine successful enrollment and retention in postsecondary institutions.
- Increase the number of students completing a college and career readiness curriculum in high school by increasing enrollment and completion rates in Montgomery County Governor’s STEM Academy courses by five percent annually.
- Reduce the number of students requiring remediation in college by five percent annually. The Montgomery County Governor’s STEM Academy director will work with the career coach at Christiansburg High School and New River Community College to obtain the results for Montgomery County Schools from the Virginia Placement Test to determine both baseline data and successful attainment of the performance measure. It does need to be noted that after disaggregating testing, discipline, and attendance data, the administrative and curriculum teams at Christiansburg High School have recommended a change to the scheduling procedure for rising ninth graders. The new schedule will allow more time to focus on core academic areas, especially Algebra I. This change should provide the students with a firmer academic foundation and make the transition to high school easier, which will hopefully decrease the need for postsecondary remediation and help to increase the graduation rate.
- Increase the number of industry certifications awarded to Governor’s STEM Academy students by five percent over the next four years.
- Increase the number of Governor’s STEM Academy graduates employed in high-wage, high-demand, and high-skill careers as determined by the Virginia Employment Commission by five percent over the next five years. The attainment of the measure will be determined by data provided by the Career and Technical Education follow-up survey and data provided by New River Community College.
Highlights of the Program: As a result of participating in the Governor’s STEM Academy in the pathways of Engineering and Technology, Information Support Systems, Manufacturing Production Process Development, Network Systems, Production, Programming and Software Development, 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.