• 68°

STEM Magnet High School Program begins

RESERVE — Science, technology, engineering and math education will get a boost in St. John the Baptist Parish beginning with the 2018-19 school year with the addition of a new STEM Magnet High School Program in St. John the Baptist Parish Public Schools.

The program will focus on college preparatory mathematics, science and English language arts courses to serve students focused on a STEM career, as well as provide classes in career pathways such as digital design and pre-engineering.

These classes will include robotics, engineering design, programming, digital storytelling, web design and photography, motion graphics and video.

Students will also be able to earn college credit while taking these classes focused on a STEM career.

The new STEM Magnet High School Program will operate on the old Leon Godchaux Junior High School campus on River Road in Reserve.

Two of the state’s leading universities have partnered with the St. John the Baptist Parish Public School District to provide unique opportunities for students in the St. John STEM Magnet High School Program.

Louisiana State University has partnered with the program for the school’s pre-engineering, digital design and, in the future, biomedical sciences classes, which will follow curriculum developed by Louisiana State University.

Math and science teachers at the STEM Magnet High School will also receive additional training through LSU.

This summer, the district also developed a partnership with Xavier University’s College of Pharmacy that will allow St. John students to take specialized courses focused on the medical field, while also participating in career-focused activities and clubs offered by the university.

“Like the cases of digital design and engineering, there exists a huge interest in the medical fields among our students,” St. John STEM Magnet High School Principal Terran Perry said.

“Xavier University has a stellar reputation and ranking when it comes to the number of students that go on to complete medical school, and we are thankful that our kids are able to take advantage of this exciting opportunity.”

These partnerships also mean that dual enrollment classes students take at the high school will earn them college credit that will directly transfer to these universities and others.

Students must meet selective eligibility criteria for admission to the St. John STEM Magnet High School Program.

In its first year, 261 students in grades 8 through 10 were accepted. Grade levels will be increased each year until the program is a full 8th through 12th grade school.

“Our mission is to make sure every student is prepared for the careers that will await them after graduation,” Superintendent Kevin George said.

“We plan to increase the number of students and opportunities in the program each year and create a powerhouse of STEM education in St. John the Baptist Parish.”

The STEM Magnet High School Program is located on the former Leon Godchaux campus in Reserve.