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Missouri Schools Show Growth in STEM Education

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Friday, May 23, 2014
More than 300 schools in 91 districts participate in Project Lead the Way

Missouri schools are offering students more opportunities for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.

More than 300 schools from across the state will participate in Project Lead the Way during the 2014-15 school year. The program provides rigorous, relevant and innovative STEM education programs to schools across the country. It allows students to gain early exposure and hands on experiences in engineering, biomechanics, aeronautics, biomedical sciences and applied math fields. Eighteen Missouri school districts will be new participants in the program when school resumes in the fall.

“It is outstanding that high schools, middle schools and even elementary schools across the state recognize the importance of STEM education,” said Sharon Helwig, assistant commissioner for the office of College and Career Readiness. “Each year more jobs require skills in science, technology, engineering and math.”

Through Project Lead the way, Missouri offers 351 programs to  319 participating schools, ranking 10th in the country in number of programs. Missouri’s rate of growth in the program ranks behind only California and Texas.

“Project Lead the Way programs are at the forefront in transforming education in Missouri through their hands-on approach to solving real world problems, thus helping foster imagination and critical thinking skills,” said Norma Anderson, Director of Secondary Education in the Blue Springs School District. “Students work in collaborative teams applying science, technology, engineering and math principles to create, innovate and problem solve. These programs challenge today’s students to be college and career ready, allowing for a promising future and a vibrant economy for our youth.”

Missouri leads the country in PLTW computer science programs and is second behind California in new elementary school programs. Missouri also houses the third most biomedical science programs of any state. Project Lead the Way began in Missouri in 2002 with just one school participating.

“We are projecting a 15 percent growth in the number of new STEM jobs in the next 10 years, particularly in engineering,” said Laura Loyacono, Program Director of KC Stem Alliance. “A well trained and diverse group of students prepared to enter the STEM workforce upon graduation is key to the economic vitality of our region.”

College and career readiness is one of the primary goals of the state’s Top 10 by 20 initiative, which calls for Missouri to rank among the top 10 performing states in education by the year 2020.

For more information on Project Lead the Way, visit http://dese.mo.gov/college-career-readiness/career-education/project-lead-way.

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