Carson City’s Empire Elementary School has met the requirements to be designated as an official Governor’s STEM School, according to a news release.
The Advisory Council on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and the Governor’s Office of Science, Innovation and Technology developed the official Governor’s STEM School Designation based on national best practices to provide schools with a blueprint for integrating STEM into daily classroom instruction.
"The Governor's STEM Schools exemplify the core concept that STEM education is more than just the individual STEM subjects, but also how these subjects are taught and integrated with other subjects,” said Adrienne Wiggins, STEM coach at Empire Elementary School.
“In Nevada and across the nation, STEM jobs are growing faster than non-STEM jobs, and they pay nearly 50 percent more. Empire Elementary helps prepare students with the problem solving, critical thinking and teamwork skills needed for careers in Nevada’s growing STEM industries.”
Designation as a Governor's STEM School denotes that the school meets the highest standards of STEM instruction and is a model for schools around the state. For parents and the community, the designation also communicates the level of high-quality STEM education that can be expected at the school.
“We know the importance of STEM education for all students, but we know it is even more important for our population,” said Susan Squires, principal at Empire Elementary. “Of the 500 students here, 75 percent are minorities with 225 that are English Language Learners. We are also a Title 1 school, and 100 percent of our students receive free breakfast and lunch. This means our students are already at a disadvantage.”
All K-12 schools in Nevada are eligible to apply for the designation. Empire Elementary submitted an application that described their curriculum practices, learning environment, STEM instruction and integration, leadership and stakeholder engagement. Following a review of the applications, Empire Elementary hosted a site visit by members of the STEM Council, OSIT, and other stakeholders to showcase their STEM practices. Empire Elementary also received a 10-foot banner and a digital seal that can be used on a website and other electronic communications.