For Your Information,
Last year at this time, the Applied Technology Magnet Program (technology exploration) at Lakewood High School expanded its program to include a dedicated section of students devoted to the study of engineering. After a year of discussions, preparation and logistics ATM launched its STEM program; a program that utilizes Project Lead the Way curriculum as its center piece. The program was created primarily for students who didn't need to explore technology concepts because they knew they wanted to study engineering. The program qualifications included being advanced proficient in math among other things.
The program has had various hiccups, which have been constantly evaluated and adjusted. One major hiccup that we were unable to overcome was the lack of qualified applicants for the 2013-2014 school year. We believe that the opening of the McBride High School, lower overall enrollment, and other factors contributed to this problem. We made the decision to NOT water down the curriculum, because that would defeat the purpose of the program. Therefore, we did not recruit any STEM students.
Students who chose STEM as one of their choices and were qualified for the program were given the following feedback:
1. If a student had STEM as a first or second choice and ATM was not listed anywhere, they were given a denial letter. Unfortunately, because the process and decision happened so fast, there was no way to communicate that this "denial" letter was not due to a lack of qualifications, but the closing of the program. ATM did not want to assume these students would have wanted to be enrolled in ATM, and therefore passed on these students to allow them access to another program (equivalent to STEM).
2. If a student had STEM as a first or second choice and ATM was also listed as a program they were interested in, they were given a denial letter to STEM and an acceptance letter to ATM.
Moving forward, ATM will no longer be recruiting students into a designated STEM program. However, the Project Lead the Way courses will still be at Lakewood High School and will be folded into the ATM course work. The STEM program was a vision to put ready students on an accelerated path toward engineering careers and study, and that vision will now be incorporated into the philosophy of the ATM program in general. Current STEM students will still go through the program as anticipated, taking the advanced math, science and engineering courses on their matrix. As they move through the program, the STEM courses will become options all ATM students can elect to take.
While it seems that we have canceled a program merely a year after creating it, I assure you that's not the case. Again, the STEM program was designed as an elective choice within the ATM program. We tried to better align these students by designating them as a separate program, but that caused confusion over enrollment, logistical issues in scheduling and created a false identity of the program.
The ATM program is and has been dedicated to the core concepts of STEM education and has used it as an integral part in redesigning the ATM course of study. We hope that this decision allows our program's goals to be clearer.
We apologize for any misunderstandings this may have caused,
The ATM Team
Please direct any question or concerns to Tom McNamee (ATM lead teacher)