K-12 STEM Department
K-12 STEM Department (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)
The vision of the STEM Academies is to increase STEM opportunities for Pinellas County students. The intent of this increased exposure to STEM is for students to enroll themselves in accelerated STEM courses as they progress through middle and high school.
The mission of the STEM Academies is to offer students’ opportunities to conduct hands-on STEM investigations, explore careers in STEM, improve team building and leadership skills, learn about business planning and interact with community partners.
STEM Academy Program Overview
The K-12 STEM Department is run by the K-12 STEM Specialist who oversees the STEM Academy program. This free STEM Academy program impacts more than 5,300 students in 2 -12 grades from 100 participating schools. The program utilizes an extended school day to offer students opportunities to conduct hands-on engineering design challenges, explore careers in STEM, improve teambuilding and leadership skills, learn about business planning and interact with community and business partners. Over the past six years, the K-12 STEM Specialist has written and received grant amounts from Duke Energy close to $1,000,000 used to fund a majority of the STEM Academies at the Title 1 schools.
The PCS Department of Assessment, Accountability and Research, found that a student participating in the STEM Academy program is 2 times more likely to pass the state Math FSA assessment and 4 times more likely to pass the state NGSSS Science EOC.
In addition to the 270+ STEM Academies, the K-12 STEM Specialist offers a yearly STEM Expo, where students participating in this program get to display their engineering design projects that they worked on throughout the year. During the month of June, the K-12 STEM Department offers 4 weeks of STEM Summer Camps.
To learn more, donate resources or become involved with the K-12 STEM Department, please contact:
Laura Spence, K-12 STEM Specialist
Deborah Gerhardt, K-12 STEM Department Secretary
FREE "Girls Who Game" After School STEM Academy Opportunity (Grades 4th-8th) - Deadline to Apply: Thursday, October 17th, 6:00pm
A big initiative for the PCS K-12 STEM Department is to increase engagement and enrollment in STEM opportunities for underrepresented populations with a specific focus on young females. In many STEM careers, women still remain underrepresented in engineering (14%), computer (25%) and physical science (39%) occupations.
We are looking to help bridge this gap by providing a FREE after school “Girls Who Game” PCS STEM Academy. This opportunity is a collaboration between the PCS K-12 STEM Department, Dell and Microsoft.
Goals for the “Girls Who Game” STEM Academy:
- increase female engagement in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields of study
- develop and apply skills, behaviors, and dispositions (critical thinking, collaboration, communication, creativity, problem solving etc.) to authentic learning experiences
- build capacity using Minecraft (computational thinking and coding) and its application and connection to other subjects using a Passion Project
- opportunity to connect and communicate with female mentors in STEM fields to create awareness of opportunities using live virtual presentation sessions
The “Girls Who Game” STEM Academy will support young females by allowing them to learn more about gaming (Minecraft) while they are building their STEM skills through the creation of a “Passion Project”. Passion Projects will be embedded into the Minecraft STEM experience. Projects will be specific to the learner and can address issues such as supporting animal shelters, educating the community about recycling, bullying, empowering young females, solving a school or classroom issue, etc.
Who: Enrollment is limited to females in 4-8 grades currently attending a Pinellas County public school (operated by the Pinellas County School Board). Space is limited to only 12 seats! We want females who DO NOT have any experience using Minecraft.
Participation Details: In order to ensure a successful experience, a commitment to ALL 5 dates is required: Mon. 10/21, Mon. 10/28, Mon. 11/4, Mon. 11/11, and Tue. 12/3 (Final session & celebration). Each session will be held at the PCS Administration Building (301 4th Street SW, Largo FL 33770) from 4:00-6:00pm.
Application and Deadline to Apply: Thursday, October 17th by 6:00pm. See application submission details located on page 3 of the application packet, Girls Who Game 19-20 Application Packet
Selection Process: 12 females will be selected using the process of random lottery. Applicant names will be placed in a bag and 12 drawn at random. Students not selected, will be placed on a wait list and will be contacted if a seat becomes available. All families will be notified of their child’s status (accepted or wait listed) on Friday, October 18th.
19-20 FREE STEM Academy Program Application Details
FREE STEM Academy After School Program - Open Enrollment All Year Long
If you are interested in enrolling your Pinellas County public school child (governed by the PC School Board) into one of the FREE before or after school STEM Academies run by the PCS K-12 STEM Department during the 2019-2020 school year, please read through the details below.
- The STEM Academy program is available to students in 2 through 12 grades. Since this is a FREE program, space is limited to only 20 students per STEM Academy and waitlists will be available at each school for each individual STEM Academy.
- All PCS STEM Academies start the 1st week in October 2019 and run through the last week in April 2020. Academies meet after school, once per week for 60 minutes. Some teachers elect to host their STEM Academy before school and some teachers host their STEM Academy on a bi-weekly basis for 120 minutes (every other week). Use this 19-20 STEM Academy School & Teacher Offering Matrix link to view a list of the schools who host STEM Academies, the teachers names, the day of the week they host their academy as well as the frequency (weekly for 60 min. or bi-weekly for 120 min.).
- The main application period closed Sept. 19 however, open enrollment continues all year long as each STEM Academy can take up to 20 students. To receive a 19-20 STEM Academy Student Application Packet, contact the school and request one from the STEM Academy teacher for the specific grade level that you are interested in. You will also be able to ask the STEM Academy teacher if enrollment is currently at capacity (20 students). If the STEM Academy is not at capacity, your child can be enrolled at any time. If enrollment at a specific STEM Academy is full, your child will be placed on a waitlist. The waitlist is utilized throughout the entire year if an opening becomes available.