What is STEM?
The acronym S.T.E.M. stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Attention to these fields has grown in recent years with the realized connection between America's prosperity and the flattening global economy.
The following reports from American business leaders and national advisors, using data from sources like the National Science Foundation, the United States Department of Labor and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, illustrate the pressing need for our country to bolster its investments in STEM.
What is STEM Education?
STEM Education is an interdisciplinary approach to learning where rigorous academic concepts are coupled with real world lessons, where students apply science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in contexts that make connections between school, community, work, and global enterprise enabling the development of STEM literacy and with it the ability to compete in the new economy.
The Mission of the Brandywine School District's STEM program
The STEM program in the Brandywine School District seeks to produce more students who are both passionate and prepared to become tomorrow’s scientists and engineers.
The program is dedicated to providing relevant content and capable teachers who challenge and inspire our students to display the vision and the courage necessary to persevere through the rigorous modes of thought expected in the pursuit of STEM related careers.
An overview of the BSD STEM program
Scientists and engineers often recall gaining inspiration at a young age. Without replacing any part of the well rounded experiences our elementary students receive, the STEM program will seek ways to integrate technology and engineering opportunities into the science curriculum. Enrichment opportunities involving STEM will also be explored through partnerships with the high schools, after school programs, and summer camp experiences.
At the middle schools, the integration will continue in the science courses while newly designed Technical Education courses will provide a reverse approach by integrating the math and science into engineering projects.
Data from the SATs indicate that health sciences and engineering rank highest on intended college majors amongst 12th graders in the Brandywine school District. In fact, 1 in 5 male students wish to major in engineering related fields and nearly 1 in 4 female students wish to major in the health sciences. The STEM program will seek to ensure that these students are adequately prepared for the work that lies ahead while increasing the overall number of students.
Advanced Coursework in Math and Science
In the scope of STEM education, a clear distinction needs to be made between STEM literacy and STEM preparation. STEM literacy is important as the global economy increases it"s reliance on technological innovation, but in order for students to be prepared to enter any STEM related field, deep understanding of the principles of math and science is critical. Building this strong foundation in these areas will require district support and student access to the most rigorous math and science curriculum including that from Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB).
Support for the Arts and Language
Equally important to strong math, science, and technology classes, is the need for future scientists and engineers to be creative and be clear communicators. For these reasons, the strength of the success of the STEM program is highly dependent on giving these students a well rounded education that includes the arts.
The Brandywine region has been a draw for STEM minded professionals for much of the 20th century. Currently Delaware has more engineers as a percentage of their overall workforce than Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. In fact, over the last four years, Delaware had the greatest increase in the percentage of engineers in the nation. The STEM program will seek out these individuals for both advice and partnership.