Friday Harbor High School's STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) program will receive a major boost thanks to the work of Senator Kevin Ranker (D-Orcas Island). On the last day of the legislative session, $1 million for the program was approved.
Earlier this year, San Juan Island School District was named one of the five STEM Lighthouse Districts by the State of Washington via a state wide competition. The Lighthouse designation acknowledges that these districts have developed the best STEM programs in the State.
As a STEM Lighthouse, the district's mission will be to serve as a resource and example of best practices in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics instruction to all other districts, especially small districts for which quality STEM programs are especially challenging.
The program is a means for educators, elected officials, industrialists, professional associations and unions intent to focus on bringing the skills and knowledge of graduates in line with the high paying technical jobs in the modern workplace.
The benefits of the program go beyond students' education. The quality of a school district is often a major consideration for families considering a move to the island.
"A good K-12 STEM program will attract students to our schools, perhaps even growing our enrollment," School Board member Jack McKenna noted in the district's STEM blog. "A stream of STEM ready graduates may encourage small companies to locate here.
For more about the STEM program and a chance to help develop a five-year plan, log on to the district's STEM blog.