GRHS vice principal talks STEM expansion

VICKI GOEBEL Special Contributor
Glen Rose High School Vice Principal Vicki Goebel discusses the expectations for the school's STEM Academy with staff members in 2013.

GRHS STEM Academy is in the second full year of implementation and currently one of 91 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) academies in the state of Texas.

The current year has included the introduction of a Geometry In Construction course, taught by Jami Lovelady and Randall Bozarth, which combines core content with career and technological skills. FloTech, co-taught by Randy Haney and Vicki Dunn, focuses on student-led, character-based issues resulting in the production of posters and videos, all the while establishing positive messages throughout the campus such as this year’s #beyourbestself# motto. The culinary arts and hospitality classes are taking off as businesses of their own, providing presentation and catering opportunities to large numbers of people in and around Glen Rose.

The recent successes hang on the coattails of prior successes at Glen Rose High School, which include a well-established dual-credit program where in-house teachers provide most of the dual-credit instruction, with the exception of online elective courses which can be taken through San Angelo State University and Hill College. Just mention Mr. Ogletree, Mr. Sowell, The Greshams, Mrs. Lovelady or Mrs. Hoffman and the students know it’s time to get to serious.

However, the strengths aren’t limited to students on the fast track. Glen Rose offers a huge array of courses that support all students. For almost 10 years, Wendy Thompson has been exposing students to the environmental issues of water quality and reclaiming land to enhance habitat for wildlife native to this area.

She has worked closely with Luminant Technologies and has maintained a decade-long relationship that over time has developed into another partnership with the Nuclear Power Institute and Texas A&M. Thompson now serves as a sponsor of GRHS’s POWER SET organization, which provides support to young women interested in STEM fields. Doug Ogletree sponsors a similar organization titled WIT, which provides STEM experiences to young men and women interested in STEM fields.

While at GRHS STEM Academy, students have the opportunity to become certified or licensed in several areas including EMT, LVN, auto technology, food handling, food service management, welding, cosmetology, Apple maintenance, etc. This list will continue to grow as administrators and teachers continue to seek business partners to enhance learning experiences for students at Glen Rose.

The newest highlight is the 2015-16 school year will include an introduction of two engineering courses: Introduction to Engineering and Principles of Engineering. The engineering curriculum will support robotics. Students are excited about this new opportunity. In addition, physics and algebra 2 teachers are in collaboration about utilizing Lego Mindstorm robots to enhance the learning experience.