Hart District schools recognized for STEM programs

After the results of a nationwide ranking were published by Newsweek on Thursday, the William S. Hart Union High School District announced six schools were on the list for top STEM high schools for 2019, placing them in the top 10% nationally.

There are a total of 37,100 secondary schools within the United States, according to a news release distributed by the district Friday, which cited the U.S. Department of Education.

West Ranch High is listed at No. 1,209; Valencia No. 1,899; Canyon at No. 2,055; Academy of the Canyons No. 2,181; Hart at No. 2213; and Saugus No. 3,325.

Each of the schools were recognized for their programs involving STEM, which stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics, by both Newsweek and STEM.org. The list includes schools in every region of the country that offer skilled teachers who keep up with developments in these fields and who create dynamic learning environments to engage their students.

“What a delightful surprise to learn that so many of our schools have been recognized for their outstanding work to promote STEM learning opportunities,” said Hart District Deputy Superintendent Mike Kuhlman in the district press release distributed Friday. “All of our schools are working hard to ensure engaging, real-world educational experiences are available to the students of the Santa Clarita Valley. This is a well-deserved recognition for the administrative, teaching and support staff at each of our sites. They have done an exceptional job of reshaping how we prepare our students for work and life in the 21st century.”

Academy of the Canyons principal Pete Getz said that the news came as a surprise to him Friday, but he was happy to see Academy of the Canyons reach be recognized on a national scale. He accredited both AOC and College of the Canyons for their successes in the field of STEM.

“I think one of things that makes us unique is that we’re part of a very high performing, top-ranked community college in the country and our students have access to those courses,” said Getz. “We’re in a sweet spot in terms of what our students can take.”

Getz said that 63% of the students at AOC are considered STEM students due to their majors at COC.

“I’m super excited to hear about this because the students and community at AOC definitely deserve the recognition,” said Getz. “It gives us an opportunity to continue to move in a positive direction and expose more and more students to those majors and those courses.”

The STEM.org educational research was able to determine the top 5,000 schools in the country by using a data set collected over a four year period between 2015-19, according to officials. The purpose was to determine which primary/secondary institutions in America best offer students experiences in STEM while preparing them for post‐secondary outcomes.

Additional factors, including affluence and median household income, were taken into consideration in compiling the rankings.

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