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LB BubbleThere were nearly 8.6 million STEM jobs in the United States in 2015, with an average annual salary of nearly $90,000, significantly above the national average wage. STEM occupations are also experiencing above-average growth. Recognizing this, SCASD is preparing students for a future job market heavy in STEM opportunities.

SCASD’s technology education program has proven potential to launch students into a successful future career they enjoy. With programs beginning in sixth grade and continuing on through high school, students are exposed to a broad spectrum of technology education. They receive the opportunity to explore and experience various career paths that can set them up for abundant success.

The middle school technology education program is offered at both Park Forest and Mount Nittany Middle Schools. The program allows students to learn in a hands-on environment that emphasizes STEM curriculum, a well-rounded launch pad into the valuable programs that await each student later in high school.

The STEM focus allows students to explore science and technology within the curriculum. While science and technology are different, their symbiotic relationship takes students from the theories and principles — science — to their practical application — technology. Students participating in a technology education course can expect project-based assignments that challenge them to utilize creative thinking and problem-solving skills, whether they are in middle school or high school.

The middle schools have six technology educators between them. In each of the classes, you can expect to see the foundations of technology education requiring students to design, create, utilize, evaluate and modify technological systems to solve problems. Outside of the classroom, some of these instructors also participate as advisors in the Technology Student Association.

TSA is a co-curricular club where students compete in technology education and STEM-related specialties. Both middle schools have a TSA club, and there are high school clubs for grades 9-10 and 11-12. The SCASD TSA clubs find great success in competition, a testament to the foundational knowledge they are receiving through their coursework.

The middle school technology education courses have focuses in energy and transportation, communication and design and materials engineering and processes. When they leave the middle school, students can continue their technology education in three additional focus areas: video media, materials processing and computer graphics. They can also opt to participate in one of 14 new electives through the Career and Technology Center.

By the time a student leaves SCASD, they will have been exposed to a variety of STEM, science and technology and technology education courses. With encouragement and instruction, there is great opportunity for students to identify their unique interests, talents and goals, then use that information to launch them into success in higher education and a fruitful career.