2 Tacoma schools named science mentors, receive $20K

A total of five schools — including two in Tacoma — and an entire district will be serving as Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) mentors to other schools in the state. Known as Lighthouse schools, the six entities were recently awarded $20,000 grants that will promote and develop STEM education, including technical assistance and advice for other middle schools and high schools that are creating their own STEM environments.

The five schools and one district are Eastmont Junior High School (Eastmont School District); Secondary Academy for Success (Northshore); Science and Math Institute (Tacoma); Stewart Middle School (Tacoma); Toppenish High School (Toppenish); and Odessa School District.

“I congratulate all the lighthouse schools,” said Randy Dorn, state superintendent. “Each of them is taking a leadership role in STEM education and will serve as great models for the rest of the state.”

STEM Lighthouse schools originated in 2010 with the Legislature’s passage of House Bill 2621. The bill directs the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction to designate as many as three middle and three high schools each year as lighthouse schools. The schools “serve as resources and examples of how to combine the following best practices: small, highly personalized learning communities; an interdisciplinary curriculum with a strong focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), delivered through a project-based instructional approach; and active partnerships with businesses and the local community to connect learning beyond the classroom.”