Killeen ISD expands STEM program, offers fully funded college credit

Posted at 5:56 PM, Nov 15, 2017
and last updated 2018-11-03 15:20:03-04

The Killeen ISD school board unanimously voted to expand their science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM program, from one high school to all four of their high schools.

"If I were a freshman, I'd definitely join stem," Ophelia-Eden Brown, the Vice President of the STEM program at Shoemaker High School, said. 

"This year we have a total of 250 plus [students]. We have six engineering classes, courses, going throughout four teachers," Brianna Murphy, the President of the STEM program at Shoemaker High School, said. 

Previously, KISD only offered their high school level stem program at Shoemaker High School.

"I think it's where we need to be headed in public education. We need to be looking and have the forethought and the visioning looking at the job market and the skill-sets that students will need to be successful in their lives,"  John Craft, Ed. D., the Superintendent of Killeen ISD, said. 

The STEM program and KISD's partnership with Central Texas College will provide students the opportunity to graduate high school with anywhere from 30 to upwards to 63 hours of dual enrollment all funded and all paid for by the district.

The change will be a major increase as to what STEM students have previously found themselves able to leave high school with. 

"As both a parent and teacher, I had a child that was in our program that actually was only able to do 27 units dual credit, but it helped me as a parent because as a parent, it was a whole year out of her education I didn't have to pay for," Sandra Melendez, Ed. D., the STEM specialist for Killeen ISD, said. 

The newly expanded STEM program has been in the works for about a year now. 

"It really truly is about providing opportunities for students to pursue not only their high school diploma but also a degree of higher education," Craft said.

"It gives us a chance to bring them here. It elevates our campus. It makes us a more rigorous college campus. It attracts other students that we normally wouldn't see," Jim Yeonopolus, the Chancellor of Central Texas College, said. 

Killeen ISD also has a middle school STEM program with a waiting list of over 800 students. 

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