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"To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk." Thomas A. Edison

District 196 is proud to offer a strong STEM  (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) education for students from kindergarten through grade 12. From Cedar Park Elementary STEM School to Project Lead the Way opportunities in middle and high school, there are many ways your child can experience science, technology, engineering and math in our schools.

Click on the following image for more information




What is STEM?

STEM education focuses on students' engagement and skills from the earliest grades in science, math, engineering and technology. The ultimate goal is to grow students’ proficiency levels and demonstrate how these skills are used every day in every subject, every class, and every career. A comprehensive STEM education includes a strong emphasis on hands-on, experiential and inquiry-based student experiences and activities.


Why focus on STEM?

STEM education has become increasingly popular as parents and policymakers realize the critical role it plays in enabling the United States to remain the economic and technological leader of the global marketplace. According to a recent U.S. Department of Commerce report, "The greatest advancements in our society from medicine to mechanics have come from the minds of those interested in or studied in the areas of STEM."


STEM in District 196

  • Cedar Park Elementary STEM School: Students use scientific, technological, and mathematical principles in real-life applications such as engineering and service projects. They use what they know about what already exists (science, math and technology) to create new ideas and products (engineering).
  • Project Lead the Way (PLTW): Valley Middle School and Apple Valley High School are certified Project Lead the Way sites. PLTW is a nationally recognized program that emphasizes critical thinking, creativity, innovation and real-world problem solving.
    • Gateway To Technology (grades six through eight) units explore aerospace, energy, the environment, modeling, robotics, technology and other STEM-related topics. The activities-oriented curriculum challenges and engages the natural curiosity of students while sparking an interest in STEM subjects and preparing students for further study in high school.
    • Pathway To Engineering (grades nine through twelve) explores the design process and links STEM principles to relevant problem-solving activities. Courses complement traditional mathematics and science courses and prepare students to pursue a post-secondary education and careers in STEM-related fields.
  • Middle School STEM classes
  • Middle School STEM cocurriculars
  • High School STEM classes
  • High School STEM cocurriculars
  • High School Career Development classes

How can I learn more?

Contact: Cathy Kindem 651-423-7911


STEM quotes

"While only four percent of the nation’s work force is composed of scientists and engineers, this group disproportionately creates jobs for the other 96 percent."
- National Science Foundation


''If America is to maintain our high standard of living, we must continue to innovate. We are competing with nations many times our size. We don't have a single brain to waste. Math and science are the engines of innovation. With these engines we can lead the world. We must demystify math and science so that all students feel the joy that follows understanding."
- Dr. Michael Brown, former Nobel Prize winner for medicine and the Paul J. Thomas Professor of Molecular Genetics and Director of the Jonsson Center for Molecular Genetics at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas


"Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) workers drive our nation's innovation and competitiveness by generating new ideas, new companies and new industries. Science, technology, engineering and mathematics workers play a key role in the sustained growth and stability of the U.S. economy, and are a critical component to helping the U.S. win the future."
- STEM: Good Jobs Now and for the Future, U.S. Department of Commerce, July 2011

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