STEM at STMA

At STMA we prepare students for success in college and beyond by teaching them to think critically and creatively and to write clearly and speak articulately to express these thoughts. We cultivate habits of close and careful reading, attentive and active listening and reflective and respectful questioning. We aim to form young people to be lifelong learners who are intellectually curious and have the tools and disciplines necessary to learn and perform well regardless of the subject matter or setting.

With respect to preparing students to pursue studies and careers in STEM subjects we have several specific intentions:

  • To provide a solid foundation in mathematics so that students can continue to build their mathematical capacities in college. For this reason we take a conservative approach to placement for incoming students and focus on fundamentals rather than an aggressive pace.  This serves college admissions by helping students reach their highest potential on the math portion of the SAT, which only tests for competencies through the Algebra 2 level. The attention to fundamentals serves to save students the frustration of recurring difficulties at each level due to persistent, unaddressed gaps in their understanding. We also provide a semester of SAT preparation and practice for all juniors during their fall semester.
  • Engagement, driven by genuine interest, is critical to successful completion of STEM tracks in college. To help students discern the nature and extent of their interests and aptitudes, and to generate enthusiasm for the subjects, we offer a wide range of unique electives in STEM subjects that show students applications and possibilities in these areas. Students who choose these electives gain exposure to wide range of disciplines most high school students never see until college, if ever.  (See, http://wtgrantfoundation.org/secret-key-successful-science-education-know-student-interest )
  • Grit - conscientious determination - is perhaps the most important trait for success in any serious life endeavor. Throughout our curriculum and formation efforts we inculcate virtues of curiosity and perseverance. Our attention to human and spiritual formation according to the Salesian model advances our pursuit of these ends by fostering opportunities for well-ordered mentoring relationships with students. (See, https://blogs.wsj.com/experts/2015/09/16/the-most-important-factor-in-a-college-students-success/ and https://culturefeed.com/what-a-wise-person-says/ )
  • Our robust humanities curriculum and our commitment as a Catholic school to the unity of truth and the pursuit of knowledge ordered toward the greater glory of God imbues our science courses with emphases on the respect for life, the beauty of creation, the proper moral limits of research and practice, and the moral and intellectual hazards of scientism and materialism. We understand the proper role of the scientific disciplines to be in service of human flourishing and counsel against the subordination of human goods to material progress.

STMA’s graduates are consistently well prepared for any of the academic disciplines they choose to pursue in college. They are equipped to pursue these disciplines with a well-formed conscience and the ability, grounded in their studies in literature, history and philosophy, to recognize and avoid recurring heresies, fallacies, and temptations so often attached to higher education.

STMA graduates should not expect to find their college courses in the STEM subjects, or any subjects, to be redundant – mere reiterations – of their prep courses. These new courses will, and ought to be, challenging and full of new material. However, STMA graduates can and should expect that they will have the intellectual, moral, and personal formation to find success in these studies and beyond.

  • Approximately 55% of recent STMA graduates report majors in STEM disciplines; another 12% are pursuing majors in Business.
  • A strong majority (65%) of 2018 graduates report earning an A- or better on their first college math courses.  

STMA offers student a wide range of STEM core classes and electives over four years of study.

Mathematics and Engineering Offerings

Algebra I
Geometry
Algebra II
Precalculus
Calculus
Statistics
Discrete Math
Linear Algebra
Cryptography
Intro to Engineering
Numbers, Symmetry and Patterns
SAT Math Prep
Fundamentals of College Math
Mathematics in Sports 

Science Offerings

Biology
Chemistry
Physics
Advanced Topics in Science
Bioethics
Entomology
Historical Geology
Biochemistry
Light and Optics
Agriculture 

Business and Economics Offerings

Politics and Economics
Marketing
Personal Finance
European Finance
Introduction to the Stock Market

Extracurricular Offerings

Future Farmers of America
Science Olympiad
Robotics Club
Math Club

STEM Related Courses were 40% of Core Courses and 30% of Electives in 2016-17 
STEM Related Courses are 40% of Core Courses and 43% of Electives in 2017-18


Recent STEM College Placement

More than 50% of recent graduates are studying STEM in college

Baylor
Accounting

Case Western
Case School of Engineering

Catholic University
Busch School of Business & Economics

Cornell
Biology

Davidson
Biology

Franklin & Marshall
School of Neuroscience

Lehigh University
P.R. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science

North Carolina State University
College of Engineering
Pre-Medicine
Poole College of Management

University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
School of Nursing
Engineering

University of Pennsylvania
Graduate Chemistry Program

University of Virginia
Biology

Vanderbilt
Neuroscience


STEM Outcomes

STMA students show significant improvement in math relative to their cohort nationally. This translates to higher tier college admissions and greater financial awards than would be expected given their pre-STMA trajectory

Recent Student Performance (100% of students testing) 

Class of 2016
Incoming 9th Grade Math ISEE National Percentile: 52
Outgoing Math SAT National Percentile: 81  
(+ 29)

Class of 2017
Incoming 9th Grade Math ISEE National Percentile: 50
Outgoing Math SAT National Percentile: 79  
(+29)

Class of 2018
Incoming 9th Grade Math ISEE National Percentile: 50
Outgoing SAT Math Percentile: 84  
(+34)

Class of 2019
Incoming 9th Grade Math ISEE National Percentile: 44
Outgoing SAT Math Percentile: 83
(+39)