California: Professional Engineers as STEM Teachers

Lennox School District

When the Lennox, California school district learned how few of its female and Hispanic graduates were applying to college engineering programs, it launched a STEM initiative – starting in the elementary schools – called the School of Engineering Program. In this program, which is open to all elementary and middle school students, professional engineers teach side-by-side with general and special education classroom teachers, using a project-based learning model to teach students the steps of the engineering design process.

In their engineering classes, students learn advanced scientific concepts as they design, build, and test prototypes. They use computers and software and 3D printers, as well as electrical circuits, robots, drones, laser cutters, and other high-tech equipment the district has received from partners in the local business community.

The School of Engineering program is so popular with students that the district has to use a lottery system to determine who gets to participate. And the academic results are promising. Both elementary and middle school students who participate in the engineering program are scoring significantly higher in reading, language arts, and math.

Source: District Administration