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Sharyland expanding engineering programs

20120323_sharyland-logoMISSION — Sharyland Independent School District board members said they are in full support of implementing two new programs here – a pre-engineering academy and Project Lead the Way STEM.

One of the goals for the board this year was to investigate a possible academy to be offered at Sharyland High School. The staff recommended a pre-engineering academy for incoming ninth-graders. The item had been discussed during previous budget and curriculum plans to use high school allotment funds to provide financial support for the academy. The board approved to start the academy this coming year.

Board member Fernando Ramirez said the program is long due over and board President Ricky Longoria said he is supporting the program 110 percent, but would like to see old programs re-evaluated to see if they are still needed as they are implementing new programs.

“Our budget’s not going to get any better next year,” said Longoria. “As we come up with all of these ideas to put new programs in, I think there has to be an evaluation of the programs we have in place, to say ‘Hey, maybe this didn’t turn out as great as we thought it would.’ It would mean we could redirect it (funds) to some of these new ideas.”

The district will incorporate courses provided through Project Lead the Way as well as the Infinity Project. The program will also incorporate electives that will provide students with the functional understanding of the components of engineering and the different degrees they can pursue in college.

The program is titled Sharyland High School Pathway to Engineering. The program is designed to stimulate an interest in technology, engineering principles and applied sciences; expose students to “real world” experiences in different fields of engineering including a possible internship senior year; highlight the potential for future employment in engineering; and develop an understanding of how technology and engineering can benefit society with the requisite responsibilities of ethical and moral conduct.

Students interested must be an eighth-grader in good academic standing, have successfully completed algebra I, and complete a three part application. The application process includes an application from the student and a form filled out by the student’s math and science teachers. Acceptance will be based on grades, attendance, behavior, work habits, and willingness to study and complete tasks outside the classroom.

Classes students in the program would be taking include technology (engineering), intro to engineering design (3D drawing and solid models), principles of engineering, digital electronics, engineering design and development and an engineering internship. Courses will be evaluated every year to see if new classes can be offered.

Already, 32 students have signed up, district officials said.

The Project Lead the Way STEM program will provide the district with curriculum and staff development to teachers to provide engineering courses to high school students. Besides the courses that will be offered through the pre-engineering academy, classes such as aerospace engineering, biotechnical engineering, civil engineering and architecture, and computer integrated manufacturing will be offered.

In other items, the alternative routes for 6 ½ Mile Line Road that would run from Ware to Los Ebanos roads was not discussed at the McAllen Planning and Zoning meeting. The item was not advertised correctly by the city, so the item was tabled. The item will be brought back on April 3.

Superintendent of Business Operations and Finance Jesse Muñiz said there is opposition from the area around the new high school construction site as well as both proposed routes.

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