Supercharging STEM at LVHS

“STEM” (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programs have come to mean so many things that receiving a STEM designation can create more confusion than clarity among parents. The successes and environment tell part of the story: LVHS has won the city-wide STEMPosium competition two years running, and the school features seven overhauled science labs, new computer facilities and laptop carts, high-end 3D printers, and much more.

Eager to bring focus and clarity regarding the STEM program at LVHS, Principal Scott Grens and Computer Science Department Leader Bernardo Juarez recently shared some of the top-level vision and focal points of the STEM program at LVHS.

First, the STEM program focuses on three broad areas of study integrated into our classrooms: 1) Computer Science 2) the design process and 3) project-based learning.

The Computer Science focus means that all students, including those focusing on Arts and Humanities, complete computer science courses to develop skills and learn foundational Computer Science and programming. At Lake View, we acknowledge that technology is so deeply woven into nearly every university program and profession that teaching it as an elective, or isolated practice, will not prepare our students for the future. All students at Lake View will find Computer Science meaningfully infused into and across their career at LVHS.

The design process and project-based learning are interwoven, and provide a very relevant and high-impact environment and experience for LVHS students. The design process is all about inquiry, research, and process thinking. It’s a teaching method utilized at major universities and within strong classrooms, allowing students to fully explore problems and solutions before they start to conceive a solution. For example, LVHS students will investigate and evaluate real-world problems, right here in their own communities, and those become the projects to which they apply the design process to create real, functioning solutions as architects and designers. This fusion of “design thinking” and project-based learning is integral to our focus on inquiry in classrooms.

Many of our students create and maintain a WordPress-based digital portfolio of their projects, as a compendium of their high school career. This portfolio is a useful reference and compendium for the college application process.

While STEM is woven through the LVHS student body experience, about one-third of students choose additional STEM courses beyond freshmen year. For others, STEM learning remains an integral part of their studies.

Mr. Grens and Mr. Juarez welcome parents and prospective students to visit the school and learn more about LVHS’s STEM opportunities.