Published on March 24th, 2015 | by Millennium Magazine Staff


Keenan High School Earns National STEM Certification

W.J. Keenan High School students perform DNA barcoding in this biotechnical engineering class. 

Another Richland One school has joined an elite group of high schools to achieve national STEM certification from the AdvancED Accreditation Commission.

W.J. Keenan High School joins Lower Richland High School in being among the first high schools in the country to earn this honor. Programs achieving a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) certification have attained a highly sought-after mark of excellence.

According to AdvancED, the purpose of establishing the AdvancED STEM certification is to provide schools and programs with a research-based framework and criteria for their awareness, continuous improvement and assessment of the quality, rigor and substance of the STEM educational program.

Keenan’s STEM curriculum offers an impressive array of opportunities for students including engineering and computer science courses for college credit, robotics, an agricultural science program with a fully functioning greenhouse and a student-monitored solar cell. Keenan also has partnered with the Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics, local colleges and corporate sponsors to offer the ACCELerate engineering program. Students completing ACCELerate will earn 29 high school Carnegie units and 32 college credit hours when they graduate from high school.

“I am truly proud of the hard work of my teachers and students, as well as the support from parents and organizations that support STEM education at W.J. Keenan High School,” said Keenan Principal Alvin Pressley. “This national STEM certification is validation of the hard work and success that W.J. Keenan High School has experienced over the years.”

Keenan’s corporate sponsors, including Jon Bartschi of IT-oLogy, share the school’s enthusiasm and pride.

“Through our collaboration with teachers at Keenan High School, IT-oLogy has had the opportunity to mentor and work with some extremely talented and bright students and faculty,” Bartschi said. “They have participated in multiple STEM-related events with IT-oLogy, including Cyber Saturdays, summer camps, Spring Camp with Allen University, First Robotics and train-the-teacher workshops.

“The outcome has been a great opportunity for them to explore and experience technology in new ways, to learn about careers in technology, and be inspired to continue to learn through critical thinking so that their proficiency in STEM skills is increased.”

Keenan’s STEM certification is valid for a five-year period if the school renews its application with AdvancED each year. At the end of the five-year period, Keenan can reapply for a new STEM certification.


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