How STEM Leaders Diploma started?

On January 15, 2014, the RSU #34 School Board voted to create a new Old Town High School Diploma - the OTHS STEM Leaders Diploma. This rigorous option will create opportunities for students focused on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. In addition to skills in STEM fields, the program is structured to develop leadership skills in students to prepare them for future endeavors in research, industry, and as community leaders.

In order to earn the OTHS STEM Leaders Diploma, a student must meet the standard graduation requirements, plus an ambitious set of course and co-curricular requirements with an intense focus on STEM fields: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

The STEM Leaders Diploma creates another option for OTHS students, who can currently earn an OTHS Diploma or OTHS Honors Diploma. Earning a STEM Diploma shows evidence of considerable exploration and achievement to colleges and employers in STEM fields; feedback from post-secondary stakeholders was an essential part of the development of this program.

Efforts to create an OTHS STEM Diploma began over a year ago, with a committee of faculty and staff seeking to recognize students' current efforts and to add additional STEM opportunities. The committee met several times over the course of the 2012-2013 school year with the full STEM faculty to develop the vision for the program and draft goals and requirements for the OTHS program. The committee further developed that draft in the summer/fall of 2013, and then solicited stakeholder feedback from students, parents, faculty, STEM employers, and higher education faculty.

The STEM Leaders committee focused on developing a program that would recognize and build from strengths and incorporate community values. For example, OTHS science faculty have repeatedly been recognized for innovative work in collaborative, authentic research with practicing scientists - similarly, the STEM Diploma requirements carry students into intensive internships in STEM fields, where they will work directly with practitioners. The program also includes a number of STEM service efforts, through which students will lead their younger peers and their community in STEM learning.

This effort will lead to expansion of the OTHS course catalog. In the 2014-2015 school year, OTHS anticipates adding another Advanced Placement course to its current set of college-level course offerings, as well as two elective courses, Robotics, and Intro to Programming.

The OTHS STEM Leaders Program will next form an advisory committee with representatives for each stakeholder group: students, parents, staff, higher education, and the workforce. Students interested in earning the STEM Leaders Diploma should contact the Student Services office.

You can read this exact explanation and more by clicking this link: RSU #34 February 2014 Community Connections<insert doc here>