RISE UP/GEAR UP

Toppenish High School Wins Top State Award

OLYMPIA — January 11, 2012 — Toppenish High School was one of five schools statewide to earn the elite Lighthouse designation and will receive $20,000 and serve as a mentor to other schools in teaching Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).

Known as Lighthouse Schools, the six entities were recently awarded $20,000 grants that will promote and develop STEM education, including technical assistance and advice for other middle schools and high schools that are creating their own STEM environments.

The five schools and one school district are:

  • Eastmont Junior High School (Eastmont School District)
  • Secondary Academy for Success (Northshore)
  • Science and Math Institute (Tacoma)
  • Stewart Middle School (Tacoma)
  • Toppenish High School (Toppenish)
  • Odessa School District

“I congratulate all the Lighthouse Schools,” said Randy Dorn, state superintendent. “Each of them is taking a leadership role in STEM education and will serve as great models for the rest of the state.”

STEM Lighthouse Schools originated in 2010 with the Legislature’s passage of House Bill 2621.The bill directs the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction to designate as many as three middle and three high schools each year as lighthouse schools. The schools “serve as resources and examples of how to combine the following best practices:

  • Small, highly personalized learning communities;
  • An interdisciplinary curriculum with a strong focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), delivered through a project-based instructional approach; and
  • Active partnerships with businesses and the local community to connect learning beyond the classroom.”