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STEMMING The Tide

In February of 2012, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology issued a report on how to produce an additional one million college graduates with degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Economic forecasts had predicted that the nation would have a million fewer graduates in STEM fields than had been estimated, so the Council’s proposal was designed to suggest how to make up the difference. One of those suggestions was to try to retain as many students who enter STEM fields as possible, since less than 40% of those who enter a STEM field in college graduate with a STEM degree. The Council also made a number of key recommendations on how to achieve the desired goal. One was to increase the preparedness of students in mathematics. And another was to encourage partnerships to open alternative ways to STEM careers.
At Village Glen, we hear the message loud and clear. To retain students in school and in STEM fields, we have instituted a mentorship program. The evidence is overwhelming that students who are taken seriously by adults, who have a caring supportive relationship with a mentor, especially by one who is professionally employed in the student’s field of interest, can have a profound effect on their self-esteem, determination and on their ultimate success. They tend to attend school more regularly, and persist in their field of interest both in school and later in college. To better prepare students in mathematics, we offer Pre-AP classes in math in middle school as a way to accelerate their math progress. In high school, we offer AP Statistics, Pre-Calculus and Computer Programming. It is early days for STEM at Village Glen yet, but we do intend to establish relationships with local industry, to engage in partnerships, to offer internships, and to make the transition from school to career as seamless as possible. In this way we can best serve the needs of the country, and our students too!

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