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SISD Works to Expand Enrollment in STEM Courses

Teacher Melody Young helps senior Aleena MartinezSherman High School graduates will be well-prepared for the high-tech companies moving to the region, thanks to a new agreement between Sherman ISD and the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI).

The three-year agreement aims to increase student enrollment in Advanced Placement courses in math, science and English, boost student performance on AP tests and bolster middle and high school teachers’ knowledge of AP content and skills.

“Sherman students need to be at the front of the line for jobs in this high-tech sector, and our teachers can help them do that,” said Blake Hays, director of secondary education. “By entering into this agreement, Sherman ISD can ensure both groups will be ready for this growth.”

SISD hopes to motivate students who usually wouldn’t take AP courses to enroll, and with an earlier emphasis on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) at the middle school level, staff can guide promising minds to bloom in a more rigorous academic environment.

 “We want to encourage those students who may excel in an average class to take an advanced course in middle school,” Hays said. “That may lead to an easier time transitioning to the higher-level AP courses they take later in high school.”

Joseph Atwood, AP physics teacher at SHS, said that an increased focus on STEM can have benefits outside of the classroom in everyday life, from household maintenance to friendly debates.

“A strong math and science education means you can build a systematic process to use in your daily life and can look at things from a logic-based viewpoint,” Atwood said. “It helps students be better informed citizens when they graduate and go out into the world.”

AP math teacher Melody Young encourages students to take AP courses in high school to better prepare them for college.

“AP courses expose students to the rigor of college while still providing them with the safety nets that exist in high school,” Young said. “Also, if students pass the test and earn college credit, it can save them a lot of money and time. I have had several students enter college as a sophomore and graduate a year early due to their AP scores.”

By focusing on academic rigor, especially in STEM-related subjects, Sherman ISD is preparing the next generation of engineers as well as future leaders in different fields.

“Students can have a deeper knowledge of science and use that along with a well-rounded education in literacy and social knowledge to become better leaders,” Atwood said. “Getting hands-on, innovative science curriculum in earlier grades will no doubt be a great benefit.”