Kent County Public Schools
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the STEM Academy?
Kent County Public School System recognizes the importance of providing an advanced program focusing on science and mathematics to prepare our mathematics oriented students for the technological world in which they will compete.
While STEM is interwoven into classes for all students, the STEM Academy is a special program for highly able students in grades 7-12 with a systematic and accelerated focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. The program is designed for Kent County Public School students who have demonstrated exceptional aptitude and potential in the areas of mathematics and science.
2. What is the application process for the STEM program?
In the spring of sixth grade, students are invited by letter to apply to STEM for seventh grade, based on a variety of data. Among things we consider are:
MSA science from 5th grade - advanced (preferred) or high proficient
PARCC mathematics from 5th grade - score of 4 or 5
Grades in math and science - A's or high B's
Algebra Aptitude test - 7 or above
Math and science teacher recommendations
Students who do not participate in the STEM Academy in one grade and students who are not initially invited may apply for any available slots. Students must have earned, or have a plan to earn, credits in the appropriate math and science classes in order to participate.
3. Who selects the students eligible for the STEM Academy and what process is used?
There are criteria to determine those most likely to succeed in this challenging program, and a panel of school personnel, parents, and community partners will complete a blind review of all students’ applications. An application to STEM does not guarantee acceptance into the program.
4. Who attends the STEM Academy?
Successful STEM students are hard-working, goal-driven, and independently motivated. Students in this program have a special interest in math and/or science, and an aptitude for both subjects.
5. What is the structure of the academic day? How does this program differ from the program of studies available for non-STEM students?
STEM students have STEM-only classes for math and science until they enroll in AP courses. They also have a STEM activity period in grades 7-9. STEM students are in other classes with non-STEM students and are able to take Honors and AP Classes at KCHS. STEM students will also participate in classes such as band, art, media, music, physical education, and CTE with all other students. All extracurricular activities are available to STEM students.
6. Are there special expectations for STEM students?
STEM students will study math and science in a more accelerated and in depth manner than their peers. STEM students are expected to complete in-depth projects during the school year and during the summer. STEM students must sign and abide by an honor code and must keep all grades at an 80% or higher.
7. What is the role of higher education in the STEM Academy?
Washington College and Chesapeake College are full partners in the program and have been a part of the planning process. Students with qualifying grade point averages will be eligible to take college classes while enrolled in high school. Earned college credits will count towards high school graduation requirements.
8. Are special education students eligible for participation in the STEM program?
Yes, all students who meet the achievement criteria are eligible to apply to the STEM Academy. Appropriate accommodations and modifications will be made to address an IEP student enrolled in the STEM Academy.
9. How are parents/guardians and community members made aware of the STEM program, admission requirements, activities, and program opportunities?
Kent County Public Schools will hold an informational night at Kent County Middle School to make parents and students aware of the program and admissions criteria before applications are due. Parents, staff, and community members are also part of the STEM Steering Committee which oversees all aspects of the STEM program.
**Following the selection of students for the STEM Academy, an additional Information Night will be held before the end of the school year for students who have been accepted into the STEM Academy. The STEM FAQ sheet will be sent home with all sixth graders and will be posted on the KCMS and KCPS website.
10. Whom should I contact if I have further questions about STEM?
Contact your guidance counselor.
Qualified KCPS students will be invited to apply to the STEM program in the spring of the year. Middle school applications are customarily due in late May. High School applications should be turned in before scheduling at KCHS.