OLYMPIA — Legislation signed into law today will expand the state’s science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) lighthouse program into elementary schools.
Senate Bill 6041 also encourages the sharing of best STEM practices with other schools.
In 2010, the Legislature directed the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction to designate up to three middle and high schools with a focus on project-based STEM instruction to serve as lighthouse schools. These leaders provide technical assistance to other schools and communities that want to create schools with a STEM focus.
“Today’s most in-demand, lucrative careers involve science, technology, engineering and math,” said Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe, D—Bothell, sponsor of the legislation. “Washington is second in the national innovation economy. However, these in-demand jobs are mostly filled by recruits from around the nation and world, not our children, because not enough students graduate with STEM degrees.
“We must reverse this trend by making STEM subjects fun, relevant and engaging from kids’ earliest years on up. Innovative lighthouse schools are already shining the light in middle and high schools. Now, the lighthouse program is expanded to our littlest learners in elementary school. This will help prepare kids for global careers right here in Washington state and beyond.”
A STEM lighthouse account is created to support lighthouse schools. Revenues to the account may include gifts from the private sector, federal funds, and appropriations by the state Legislature.
The bill removes the current limitation of up to three designated lighthouse schools.
For more information: Alison Dempsey-Hall, 360.786.7887