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W.F. West Receives $19,000 to Develop STEM Education
[January 29, 2013]

W.F. West Receives $19,000 to Develop STEM Education

Jan 29, 2013 (The Chronicle - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- W.F. West High School in Chehalis is doing it right in science, technology, engineering and math education.

The state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction has chosen the school to mentor others and provide technical assistance in improving STEM studies.

W.F. West, along with five other schools and an entire district, known as "Lighthouse" schools, will receive $19,000 grants to develop and promote STEM education.

"The work they do will benefit classrooms across the state," said Randy Dorn, state superintendent of public instruction, in a press release.

Chehalis School District Superintendent Ed Rothlin said W.F. West received the honor because of its strong programs in computer programming, advanced math, robotics, molecular genetics and Biotech Day, in which about 350 students from Lewis, Thurston and Pacific counties are exposed to science.

"We felt we had a good thing going," he said.

Rothlin said he hopes to use the additional funding for a five-day summer STEM camp for area students and to add robotics to Biotech Day. Additionally, he said, the district is working on a STEM partnership with Centralia College.

Lighthouse schools originated in 2010 and serve as resources of how to provide small, highly personalized classrooms with an emphasis on STEM delivered through project-based instruction.

The STEM programs also provide active partnerships with businesses and the local community to connect learning beyond the classroom.

Students in the robotics program at W.F. West work with engineers and computer programmers from outside businesses and the community.

Grants from the Chehalis Foundation, Rothlin said, have enabled W.F. West to offer these expensive advanced courses to high school students. Because W.F. West has funding for STEM education, Rothlin said, he hopes to push some of the programs down to the middle and elementary school levels.

___ (c)2013 The Chronicle (Centralia, Wash.) Visit The Chronicle (Centralia, Wash.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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