Bangor High School STEM Academy
Over the next five years, one in seven new jobs in Maine will be in STEM-related areas, according to the Maine STEM Collaborative March 2012 report.
As a result, the Bangor School Department created STEM Academy at Bangor High School in 2013-14, focusing on increasing student interest in engineering.
The STEM Academy pairs students with an engineering or science professional to conduct research at a local university, such as the University of Maine, or at a laboratory. Academy graduates can use up to 30 credit hours toward an engineering degree, possibly saving them nearly $8,400 in tuition.
STEM Academy is also used in Bangor’s elementary and middle schools. For example, an inquiry-based, active engagement science curriculum is used in classrooms for grades 3 through 5. From the academy’s first to fifth year from 2012-17, enrollment increased 91 percent and the participation of female students rose from 34 to 42 percent.
Due in part to the STEM Academy, the Bangor Science Bowl team also won the Maine Regional Science Bowl in 2015 and 2016. Bangor High’s STEM students have won the Maine Stockholm Junior Water Prize every year since the program started.
To start your own program:
- Create a partnership and articulation agreement with a local university and adopt a research component that addresses local or national issues.
- Invest in laboratory equipment and technology.
- Align course content to what students are researching over four years. For example, if student research is in life science, they should take AP Biology. At Bangor High School, the math course sequence was adjusted for STEM Academy students.