The Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics STEM program at Roosevelt High School (RHS) is now in its fifth year. Throughout history, scientists, engineers, and innovators have been central to progress, globally, nationally, and locally. In bringing STEM to Roosevelt, we wanted to help grow the next generation of scientists, engineers, and innovators; however, what has always been most compelling to us about the STEM curriculum is its focus on ensuring that students gain the knowledge and skills necessary to solve tough problems, gather and evaluate evidence, and make sense of information. This knowledge can be transferred to a wide variety of careers.
 
In March of this year, the US Department of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration published a STEM jobs update. This report found that employment in STEM occupations grew much faster than employment in non-STEM occupations over the last decade (24.4% versus 4%, respectively). In addition, the report projects that, by 2024, STEM occupations will grow by 8.9%, compared to 6.4% for non-STEM occupations. In terms of earnings, the report found that STEM workers command higher wages, earning 29% more than their non-STEM counterparts in 2015.
 
Through the STEM program at RHS, students are investigating pollutants and their environmental impacts as well as learning about and generating possible solutions to environmental problems. They are examining current and future energy sources and water management issues in the United States and around the world. Seniors in the STEM program work toward culminating projects that bring to life purposeful, effective designs that support the sustainability of water resources. They present their projects to the RHS STEM Evaluation Committee and submit them for consideration to regional and state science fairs.
 
In the past five years, STEM has become a trademark program at RHS, and we are looking to build on the program’s success throughout the district. This is something that the district’s Design Advisory Committee will be examining over the next year in conjunction with the work of the Facility Improvement Task Force. For the future of our district, it is essential that we look at both program and facility needs.
 
STEM is a great way to engage students at every level, and it sparks the interests of adults as well. Take, for example, the science behind the turkey, which so many of us will be eating later this week. Why does a turkey need to rest before being served? Where does its flavor come from? Check out the Steve Spangler Science Blog with your child this Thanksgiving to learn about the science involved in cooking a turkey.
 
From our homes to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!