Cleveland High School

High School

What is STEM?

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics​

What is STEM?

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, fields that are the underpinnings of modern life. The STEM Program at Cleveland High School gives students the opportunity for rigorous, engaging, and advanced study in these subjects.

Why Study STEM?

College and career opportunities – in fields such as biotechnology, software and graphic design, and medical research – require adaptability, creativity, critical thinking, and technical competence in science, technology, engineering and math. Employment in these areas is projected to grow 70 percent faster than growth for other occupations. STEM graduates on average are expected to enjoy better employment prospects and higher starting salaries than graduates in non-STEM fields. While many of our students will not enter a STEM field, they all benefit from exposure to the project-based learning offered at Cleveland.

How does the STEM Program at Cleveland High School Work?

In September 2010, Cleveland High School became an “option” high school, meaning that any Seattle student can attend.There will are no entrance requirements, though students are required to take four years of math and science. All students are issued and expected to use a district-provided laptop. STEM at Cleveland will have two separate academies students can choose.

  • School of BioMed Life Sciences (SOLS)  Focuses on the life sciences and biomedical fields, including biology and biochemistry, as well as global health issues. Investigates the interventions involved in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease, (e.g., immunology, surgery, genetics, pharmacology, medical devices, and diagnostics). 
    • 9th grade: Applied Molecular Biology 1
    • 10th grade: Biomedical Science 
    • 11th grade: Applied Molecular Biology 2
    • 12 grade: UW Bio 100* or AP science course 
  • School of Engineering & Design (SOED)
  • Focuses on the physical sciences and technology. Intro to Engineering and Design 1 will expose students to leading edge technologies in robotics, aeronautics, rocket design, and alternative energy.
  • Engineering SOED Classes: 
  • 9th grade: Engineering and Design 1 
  • 10th grade: Intro to Engineering and Design 2 
  • 11th grade: Principles of Engineering 
  • 12 grade: Robotics * or AP Science course 
  • School of Computer Science (SOCS)
  • Intro to Computer Science emphasizes a project-based approach in which students will explore a variety of programming systems and languages to create interactive applications and systems.  
  • 9th grade: Immersive Media (Intro to Computer Science)
  • 10th grade: AP Computer Science Principles 
  • 11th grade: AP Computer Science 
  • 12 grade: Project in Computer Science * or AP Science Course 

Each of these STEM academies will enroll up to 75 students per grade level, for a total of 250 students at Cleveland High School per grade level. * Classes are subject to availability senior year. Students are required to take a STEM pathway and may not have the option to switch pathways due to Career Technical Education graduation requirements.

How and When Can My Student Enroll in STEM?

STEM at Cleveland is an option school. That means any student can enroll. There are no admission requirements! Enrollment for STEM happens each winter during the Open Enrollment period.

What is Different About STEM?

The STEM Program provides students a number of opportunities to help them succeed. These opportunities include:

  • Personalized education.  STEM will limit enrollment to 250 students per grade level, facilitating a personalized education for each student.
  • Math and science every year. STEM students take four years of math and four years of science. Cleveland offers a strong academic program, including AP science, mathematics, and technology courses.
  • Courses in core subjects and the arts. In addition to science and technology, STEM will feature courses in language arts, social studies, world languages, and the arts. Cleveland graduates meet – and often exceed – state and district graduation requirements, including Washington state’s new 24-credit requirement. Cleveland students have the opportunity to earn up to 34 credits over four years.
  • Courses for every student.  The STEM program will be structured so that every student can succeed if they work hard. STEM at Cleveland will offer support for students who need additional assistance, as well as acceleration for students who are ready to tackle more rigorous coursework.
  • Project-based learning opportunities. All courses are taught in a project-based, high technology learning environment in which students apply their knowledge and skills in personally significant ways. Partnerships with business and industry, higher education, and community-based organizations provide engaging and relevant learning opportunities.
  • Extended class time/credit opportunities.  By using an A/B blocked schedule, students have the opportunity to earn at least eight credits each year. Classes will be 85 minutes long and will integrate different subjects.

What is Project-Based Learning?

Project-based learning is not a curriculum. It is an instructional strategy to help students learn core content while also building 21st century skills that will help them be successful in college, the workplace and life. These skills include problem solving and critical thinking skills; communication and collaboration; and creativity and innovation. Project-based learning:

  • Is organized around an open-ended driving question or challenge;
  • Creates a “need to know” around core content that provides relevancy to what students are learning;
  • Requires inquiry to help students learn and/or create something new;
  • Often results in a publicly presented product, presentation or performance; and
  • Allows some degree of student voice and choice, helping students learn to work independently and take responsibility for their work.

Students use a set of collaboration management tools to help organize their project work. Transparent rubrics (or scoring guides) make clear how they are graded on each project. Scaffolds are built in throughout the project to make sure every student does their fair share of the work. At Cleveland, project-based learning is supported by the New Tech Network (NTN), which provides a web-based set of collaboration tools tailored to project-based learning, extensive teacher training, and library of learning resources and vetted projects.

Access to Other Opportunities, such as Running Start

STEM students are able to participate in Running Start classes at local community colleges, just like students in any other Seattle high school. STEM students need to meet the same eligibility requirements for Running Start as any other Seattle Public Schools’ student.

Will STEM Partner with Local Organizations?

Cleveland takes full advantage of the great variety of science and technology organizations in the Pacific Northwest.
Some of our partners include:

  • Boeing
  • Google
  • Microsoft
  • Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
  • Qiagen
  • Bikeworks
  • Institute for Systems Biology
  • University of Washington Public Health
  • Young Shakespeare

These organizations help with project-based learning opportunities and internships, and enrich and enhance program offerings.

How will STEM Help Students Succeed?

There are several ways to help students meet the challenge of succeeding in rigorous, college prep courses. These include:

  • Summertime bridge program to help incoming freshmen transition; and
  • Engaging project-based learning that is rigorous and personally relevant to students.
  • Our after school tutoring program Cleveland After School Help (CASH) offered Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the school year.