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Family night introduced new high school curriculum


A PLTW brochure cover

High school students will find a radically altered science and math curriculum offered next year at Lake Roosevelt High School, and the school has launched a “STEM Family Night” program to introduce the concepts and get family involved.

Monday at 6 p.m. at the the Village Cinema, 18 people gathered to hear the concepts.

STEM is the education profession’s acronym for “Science Technology Engineering and Math,” which, as a combined subject area, is being emphasized nationwide.

Lake Roosevelt has been awarded a $1million-plus grant to implement the new curriculum, which will be based more on learning through application of knowledge in projects than on typical lecture-based instruction, said Victor Camarena, project coordinator.

He and Principal Brad Wilson took a tour earlier this month of the implementation of what he said was Toppenish High School’s very successful similar program.

Lake Roosevelt will follow the “Project Lead the Way” curricula, next year offering classes in “Human Body Systems” and “Principles of Biomedical Sciences.”

Wilson and science teacher Ralph Rise attended training in Chicago last month.

The courses follow “a proven hands-on, real-world problem-solving approach to learning. Students explore the concepts of human medicine and are introduced to topics such as physiology, genetics, microbiology and public health,” states the PLTW website.

Rise was happy with the turnout of about seven families at the theater Monday. He hopes to build more interest as the programs grow, including interest in the after-school teams at the heart of the school’s ability to win such major grants.

Rise, shop teacher Lee Largent, community members and others have been involved for several years in strictly off-the-clock extra curricular activity after school and on weekends, helping students explore science in ways that have won multiple awards competing with the biggest schools in the state.

That record has caught the attention of important individuals at the state level in education, Rise said Monday night. The success had led to more networking and successful grant applications.

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