Governor’s STEM Academy at George C. Marshall High School
Project Title: Governor’s STEM Academy at George C. Marshall High School
Program Lead: Fairfax County Public Schools
Program Focus: George C. Marshall High School Governor’s STEM Academy offers premium elective programs in engineering and information technology pathways to interested students in grades 9-12. Many students earn valuable industry certifications such as AutoCAD, CompTIA A+, Network +, Server +, Security +, Cisco CCENT, college credit through dual enrollment, and participate in valuable career experiences through business and industry partnerships. Students work independently and collaboratively in project-based learning environments that encourages finding creative solutions to authentic and complex problems. Engineering projects include building fully functioning robots that compete in VEX and FIRST robotics competitions and using 3- D printers to build prosthetic hands for the e-NABLE organization. Students in information technology build and troubleshoot networks, study software programs such as Ubuntu, Linux, Microsoft Windows, and compete in the CyberPatriot competitions. An active advisory and planning committee comprised of academia from Virginia Tech, George Mason University, Marymount, NVCC, and industry representatives from MITRE, Northrop Grumman and CopperRiver are committed to building our future STEM workforce.
Academy Website: Marshall Academy
Application: Board of Education Approved Governor’s Academy Application (PDF)
Partnership Members: Fairfax County Public Schools; Systemic Solutions; George Mason University; Virginia Tech; Positek.net LLC; Tysons Regional Chamber of Commerce; Junior Achievement of Greater Washington; Marymount University; Cisco Systems; and Cooper River.
Lead Entity & Fiscal Agent: Fairfax County Public Schools
Marshall High School
7731 Leesburg Pike
Falls Church, VA 22043
Academy Location: George C. Marshall High School
Number of Students Served: The Governor’s STEM Academy will have the capacity to enroll 300 students, grades 9 -12. During the initial school year (2013-2014) 150 students were admitted.
Career Pathways: Network Systems, Engineering and Technology
Academy Overview: Students enrolled in the Network Systems pathway will learn about the design, development and management of different types of software programs and hardware. This field requires a rigorous foundation in mathematics and science as well as high technical skills. The study of cyber security is an emerging field with many career possibilities. Digital defense is not only for those working in technology, government, or law enforcement jobs. Cybersecurity affects any business or organization that uses internal computer systems or connects to the Internet to do business, including those in: homeland security, public and private cyber monitoring, health care information protection, energy industry systems protection, banking, education, online retail, product development, and technology products and services. The coursework will focus on systems, networks, and technology. Students will gain specific cybersecurity skills in the ethics and legal issues related to data gathering and protection; engage in real-world plans and processes for common security scenarios, techniques and technologies that protect data and systems; and will learn about ways to detect and defend against cyber attacks.
The Information Technology (IT) lab will include 32 data drops and wireless connectivity for computer workstations, mobile devices, and laser printers. It will be fully equipped for interactive teleconferencing. Students will study collegiate-level software applications such as Microsoft’s Network Administration and Security, Cisco CCENT, and A+ computer systems technology to optimize interaction, critical thinking, and problem-solving capabilities in the IT field. The lab has two primary zones that allow independent study and group sessions to occur simultaneously. The Cyber Center encourages hands-on applications in a virtual lab environment to increase students’ ability to reduce vulnerabilities in today’s computer network systems. In the Networking Center, students will have the appropriate equipment to develop flexible network configurations.
As technology advances across the globe, it is important to have individuals who understand and can support the new technological demands. Network Systems and Data Communications Analysts are predicted to see a 53 percent increase in employment opportunities.
Students enrolled in the Engineering and Technology pathway will engage in rigorous problem-solving experiences. They will learn how to use their knowledge of science, mathematics, logic, and economics to find suitable solutions to real-world problems. The STEM lab will be equipped for 21st century learning. The lab will offer collegiate-level applications and sophisticated technologies to optimize research, interaction, and critical thinking among the students. The lab will have two primary zones that allow independent study and group sessions to occur simultaneously. The Think Tank will encourage students to think out loud and it will be equipped to support global conferencing. In the Lab Zone students will have appropriate equipment for the flexibility to conduct many experiments. An overhead gridding system and large tabletops will allow for optimal connections to equipment, while speakers and microphones transmit throughout the lab. Additional equipment will include a wind tunnel, Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines, 3D prototype printer, large format printer, plasma cutter, and computer workstations with computer-aided design (CAD) software.
Over the next decade, jobs aligned with advancing technology are predicted to boom as new career opportunities open. Individuals with college degrees and experience working with high-tech laboratory equipment have the most potential for success within this industry.
Academy Goals: The goal of the Fairfax County Public Schools Governor’s STEM Academy is to promote student achievement and interest in STEM career fields to prepare students for global competitiveness in high-skill, high-wage, and high-demand STEM careers.
Academy Objectives: The following program objectives and performance measures have been established by the Planning/Advisory Committee:
- Ensure all Governor’s STEM Academy students have the opportunity to learn in a project-based learning environment and acquire critical-thinking and problem-solving skills required for today’s global economy.
- Increase the number of George C. Marshall Governor’s STEM Academy students who achieve a B (80 percent) or better in an advanced mathematics class by two percent over the next four years.
- Increase the number of George C. Marshall Governor’s STEM Academy students meeting the requirements of the Advanced Studies Diploma by five percent over the next four years.
- Reduce George C. Marshall High School’s dropout rate by .5 percent over the next four years.
- Increase George C. Marshall High School’s graduation rate by .5 percent over the next four years.
- Increase the enrollment and retention in postsecondary education by providing students the opportunity to earn dual-enrollment credit. A critical component in the hiring of new staff members will be their ability to be credentialed as a high school dual-enrollment instructor. To that end, by the 2015-16 school year, we will strive to provide students within the Academy the opportunity to earn nine dual enrollment credits by the time they graduate high school. Post-graduation, STEM Academy graduates will receive follow-up Career and Technical Education surveys to determine successful retention in a postsecondary institute or the career field of focus.
- Increase the number of STEM Academy graduates employed in high-wage, high-demand careers by 10 percent (as identified by the Virginia Employment Commission) over the next seven years after high school graduation.
- Reduce the proportion of students requiring remediation in college by five percent by monitoring student achievement (grades) and providing intervention services as required. Success will be measured by the number of students who meet the basic college entrance criteria as determined by the Virginia Community College System. Academic assistance will be provided by Virginia licensed career and transition teachers.
- Increase the number of industry certifications earned by STEM Academy students by five percent each year.
- Ensure all qualified and eligible students participate in a valuable internship, job shadowing or work-based learning experience with local business and industry partners.
- Increase the number of postsecondary credits students earn through dual-enrollment opportunities by five percent over the next four years.
- Increase the number of students who pass the Workplace Readiness Skills by 15 percent over the next three years.
- 75 percent of graduating seniors will create an electronic career portfolio over the next four years.
- Increase the number of students competing in leadership and skill development competitions by 10 percent over the next two years.
- Increase the number of staff development opportunities for career and technical education teachers to actively participate in over the next four years by 25 percent.
- 100 percent of STEM Academy students will complete the Workplace Readiness Skills and CTE course competencies.
Highlights of the Program: As a result of participating in the Governor’s STEM Academy in the pathways of Network Systems and Engineering and Technology, students will:
- Gain a deeper understanding of the skills and knowledge incorporated in their fields of study;
- Benefit from specialized, project-based courses which develop critical-thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making skills, preparing them for the 21st century world;
- Acquire greater communication skills;
- Develop workplace readiness skills;
- Receive opportunities to earn industry certifications preparing them to be more competitive in the work force and when applying to advanced training schools or postsecondary institutions;
- Obtain meaningful, real-life, hands-on experiences in their career pathway; and
- Profit from opportunities for internships, mentorships, job shadowing, and cooperative education, which provide students with advantages when entering postsecondary education and/or the workplace.