Mansfield ISD Magazine Winter 2019/2020 | Page 14

HIGH SCHOOL STEM ACADEMY LAUNCHES NEXT YEAR M ansfield ISD middle school students who have a passion for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), will be able to continue their STEM-focused curriculum at the high school level. Frontier High School will become the Frontier STEM Academy starting in the 2020-21 school year. “Frontier High School is not going away. It’s just the way that it’s structured will look a little bit different,” said Christie Alfred, chief innovation officer. STEM-based activities, like robot competitions, will be available to the students. The high school was originally only for 11th- and 12th-graders who were interested in being immersed in post-high school graduation preparatory programs. The Frontier STEM Academy will be for students in grades 9-12 who thrive with rigorous and hands-on learning opportunities. “There are 100 spots that we will have open for the first year,” said Alfred. “Students at the Jerry Knight STEM Academy will have the first option. The best applicant for us for this first year would be students who have already passed Algebra I. We are requiring that.” The school will house only ninth- graders for the first year. A new high school grade will be added each year. Frontier STEM Academy will feature project-based learning, flexible class schedules and STEM internship opportunities with industry partners. Campus administration said the seating is even arranged in a way that promotes collaboration, communication and problem-solving. Jerry Knight STEM Academy learners have a place to continue their STEM-based learning at the high school level. 14 MANSFIELDTODAY “We’re not going to have the traditional ‘sit in rows and listen as the teacher sits in front to do the lecture,’” said Michael Fore, academic associate principal for Frontier High School. “They’re going to learn through doing and getting those experiences to be involved in the engineering design process.” Frontier STEM Academy will have its first graduating class in the 2023- 24 school year. Campus and district administrators said they are excited to see what the future holds for the incoming group of learners. “I’ve gone over to the Jerry Knight STEM Academy a few times, and to see the different ways that they are learning and the experiences that they’re having, it’s amazing; and I want to see how we can push them to their full potential to see what we can produce for our community,” said Fore. Students who are interested in applying for the Frontier STEM Academy had the ability to apply to the school online through Jan. 10. More information about the STEM Academy can be found at