Most administrators like to plan for the future. They study the culture, the trends, and their own strengths and weaknesses to determine the right course of action. However, sometimes things just sneak up on you and surprise you with a direction that you are almost forced to take.
In the 2010 school year, while reviewing the majors that our graduates were choosing in college, it seemed to the leadership team that an unusually high percentage of them had chosen majors in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. Checking the national statistics, it was found that 32% of the CCHS graduates were in STEM majors compared with the national average of 17%!
Why were we having this great success? One would not have to search long or far to get the answer. The quality of teachers (see box), the high standards, the excellent teaching environment, and the involved parents were the factors that resulted in producing highly qualified graduates.
This was not a planned emphasis for our leadership but one that was most welcome (see Proverbs 16:9). You see, during the next decade, U.S. demand for scientists and engineers is expected to increase at four times the rate for all other occupations.
With all of those factors falling into place and with a demand for preparing students for the future of jobs in America, the school decided to launch a new school called the Center for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) at Cherokee Christian Schools.
We have continued our highly successful college prep track (called Pillars), but with the STEM track, students have an option to receive intense preparation for the college of their choice and a major which will prepare them for a future of success. Under the existing college prep track, students graduate with 25 credits. Under the new STEM track, students will earn credits by taking additional classes such as STEM Design Studio, and advanced Dual Enrollment or AP courses in math and science such as Calculus, Statistics, Chemistry, and Biology.
Equally important, the students’ exposure to various STEM studies has given them a greater chance of discovering what area of future study they enjoy. This has enabled them to choose a college major and not change their mind later. Furthermore, colleges have been highly impressed with the academic rigor of the STEM program. Our graduates have been very successful in obtaining college entrance and scholarships.
For Cherokee Christian, the new STEM program has been a defining moment. It is likely that the demand for such an education will continue to be high in the community based on the news and research reports on job occupations for the future. What a joy it is to prepare students for a great future and have an impact on the world around us.
|SUBJECT AREA||UNITS REQUIRED||COMMENTS|
|Bible||**||**Bible is required each semester a student is enrolled at CCHS. Courses may include: New Testament, Church History, Doctrine of Creation, Wisdom Literature and Philosophy and Ethics|
|English||4.0||English 9 and American Literature are required. Additional courses may include: British Literature, World Literature, or Advanced English classes as available.|
|Social Studies||4.0||Must include at least 1 unit of world history or geography, 1 unit of US history, and 1 unit of government/ economics|
|Mathematics||4.0||Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, and another math beyond those (such as Pre-Calculus or Advanced Algebra/ Trig)|
|Science||4.0||Must include Biology, Chemistry and Physics, and one additional science course.|
|Foreign Language||2.0||Must be two credits in the same foreign language.|
|Physical Education/ Health||1.0||Physical Education and Health|
|Electives||2.5||Two credits of STEM electives and successful completion of a Capstone project|