KCSD Expands STEM Offerings with Financial Support of the Kennett Education Foundation

The Kennett Consolidated School District is excited to announce that it will be adding a class to the selection of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) courses offered at the high school. The District will also pilot a summer STEM program for fifth grade students.

The course, Civil Engineering and Architecture, is a one-year course that is designed for students who have completed the foundation courses of Introduction to Engineering Design and Principles of Engineering as an elective option.

“Civil Engineering and Architecture is the third of what will be a four-course offering with a capstone project to be offered in the 2016-2017 academic year,” explained Dr. Michael Barber, Kennett High School principal.

During the class, which was chosen based on student interest, students will learn important aspects of building and site design and development. They will apply math, science, and standard engineering practices to design projects and document their work using 3-D architecture design software.

“The addition of our newest STEM course, Civil Engineering and Architecture, will further enhance the pathway to the engineering experience here at Kennett High School,” said Ron Phillips, Kennett High School mathematics and STEM teacher. “The skills students have acquired in our foundation courses will be further developed with a particular focus on the planning and constructing of commercial and residential structures. Through the use of the software Autodesk Revit, students will bring their design ideas to virtual reality. This is just the first of our STEM advanced elective courses that will be selected by our students.”

The STEM program at both the Middle and High Schools have benefited greatly from the Kennett Education Foundation (KEF) that has contributed over $50,000 over the past two years to purchase technology and other equipment. For the 2015-2016 school year the KEF has contributed another $50,000 that will cover a significant portion of the dollars used for the hiring of another STEM teacher.

“During the very difficult economy that we have experienced over the past five years it would have been extremely difficult for our District to offer our students a quality STEM program without the financial assistance provided by the Kennett Education Foundation. I am amazed at the amount of time and energy the KEF volunteers expend while raising dollars for our students. They are extremely focused and dedicated to our school system and for that I am extremely grateful,” stated Superintendent Dr. Barry Tomasetti.

Summer Program

The next endeavor will be to offer STEM classes to the District’s graduating fifth graders in a pilot summer program. This two-week opportunity will offer 12 students from each of the elementary schools the opportunity to design and build remote-control robots and to study robotics technology. Additionally, part of the program will be dedicated to biomedical engineering for experimenting with ways to limit the spread of germs.

“Again, the Kennett Education Foundation’s contributions have made this summer enrichment program possible. Along with the $50,000 contributed to our High School program the KEF donated another $9,000 targeted for this summer learning opportunity,” explained Dr. Tomasetti.

“We are excited about the opportunities that we have been able to provide for our middle school and high school students in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics,” said Dr. Tomasetti. “While we will always provide our students with a traditional approach to mathematics and science, our STEM classes emphasize practical applications for math, technology, and science knowledge, and we believe that our students’ successes in applying these valuable skills will motivate them further.”

All STEM learning opportunities will consist of a hands-on, project-based approach to acquiring new skills. The District anticipates sending applications for this program to the homes of eligible students in late April. There will be a $150 fee assessed to each enrollee that will help offset the District’s cost for bringing this opportunity to students.