Continued Increase in STEAM2 Enrollment

Continued Increase in STEAM2 Enrollment
Posted on 09/09/2016
East digitalFor the third consecutive year, the student enrollment in Lakota’s STEAM2 courses in grades 7 – 12 has continued to increase.  For the 2016-17 school year, student enrollment increased by nearly 13 percent over the previous year - from 2,405 students to now 2,711 students. That’s an increase of 306 students, with nearly two-thirds of this increase occurring at the high school level.

“STEAM2 is Lakota’s framework that uses the design process to connect science, technology, engineering, the applied arts/design, mathematics, and medicine,” explains Dr. Lon Stettler, executive director of strategic business partnerships for Lakota.

And the increases are happening across all pathways. For example, enrollment in the junior high courses of design & modeling and automation & robotics increased by 115 students, an 8 percent increase, to the current 1,574 students. Enrollment in the high school engineering program increased by 60 students to 685 students – nearly a 10 percent increase – while the high school biomedical program jumped by nearly 41 percent with 131 new students, now totaling 452 students. 

According to Stettler, there are several reasons for the increase in the STEAM2 enrollment.  He explains, “First, the 2016-17 school year completes the 4-year build-out of both the engineering and also biomedical pathways at both Lakota high schools.  At the front end of the STEAM2 pipeline, our elementary schools are providing more students with learning experiences in STEAM2 in the science curriculum and the expanding the number of elementary STEAM2 labs.”

In addition, Lakota students and parents are recognizing the high demand for more qualified high school and college graduates in the STEAM2 careers.  Many of Lakota’s parents are currently in STEAM2 careers and, therefore, see the opportunities and encourage their student to take one or more STEAM2 classes.

“Secondary students are also hearing from fellow students who took a previous STEAM2 course how good the course is and see its relevance for their future,” says Stettler. “STEAM2 students find the curriculum to very challenging and taught by very competent and capable teachers. The endorsement of peers carries a lot of weight with students when they consider courses for the next school year.”

Finally, students see that courses in the engineering and biomedical pathways segue into high school internship experiences during their junior and senior years.  An internship is “deeper dive” field experience for students that consist of multiple rotations in a professional setting.

Lakota currently offers about 20 internship opportunities in the high-demand industries of biomedical/health, engineering and design, information technology and business operations. Some of our current internship partners include UC West Chester Hospital, Procter & Gamble, Kinetic Vision and Premier Health Atrium Medical Center.

Superintendent Robb Vogelmann states, “Lakota is committed to preparing our students for their future, and our STEAM2 curriculum makes a significant contribution toward preparing graduates. We’ve incorporated the STEAM2 concepts across all grade levels, which is still relatively rare among public school districts.”

Click here for more on Lakota’s STEAM2  and click here for more on Lakota’s internship program.