Loudoun County Public Schools’ Vision for STEM Education
According to the Congressional Research Service (2008), the United States ranks 20th among all nations in the proportion of 24-year-olds who earn degrees in natural science or engineering. In response, government, business and professional organizations have identified improvements in K-12 education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) as a national priority. The National Academy of Sciences report, Rising Above the Gathering Storm (2007), calls for the strengthening of math and science education and for an urgent change in STEM education. The U.S. Department of Education’s Report of the Academic Competitiveness Council lists several K-12 STEM Education goals. Foremost is a goal to prepare all students with science, technology, engineering, and math skills needed to succeed in the 21st century technological economy.
Increased performance in STEM fields requires STEM literacy. To become truly literate, students must have better understanding of the fields individually, and more importantly, they must understand how the fields are interrelated and interdependent. Clearly, formative experiences in STEM during their K-12 school years will allow for a deeper STEM literacy and better prepare them for university and beyond. In order to properly prepare our students, they must have a broad exposure to and a knowledge base in the STEM fields as part of their K-12 education.
The goal of STEM education at LCPS is to deepen students’ knowledge, skills, and habits of mind that characterize science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Loudoun County Public Schools has many exemplary programs designed to answer the call for STEM education. The Loudoun Governor’s Career and Technical Academy at Monroe Technology Center and the Academy of Science at Dominion High School are specialized programs that meet these goals. Additionally, LCPS offers students a variety of STEM courses and opportunities that are rigorous, demanding, and help students develop skills required for the 21st century.
Based on the success of these programs, we are building capacity to provide integrated STEM education to all LCPS students. Integrated STEM in LCPS is defined as experiences that develop student understanding within one STEM area while also learning or applying knowledge and/or skills from at least one other STEM area.
Within this framework of integrated STEM, LCPS science courses will develop student’s science understanding necessary to be scientifically literate; which includes science content, habits of mind, science process skills, and relevant application of scientific knowledge. Through integrated STEM science instruction students will develop an understanding of the connections with other STEM disciplines. Additionally, science instruction at LCPS is intended to generate a large pool of students prepared to pursue STEM areas in college or through further on-the-job training in the workplace.
LCPS STEM experiences will:
· Capitalize on student interest
· Build on what students already know
· Engage students in the practices of STEM
· Engage students with inquiry learning
Click on the link below to learn more about STEM and how it relates to Family and Consumer Sciences!