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STEM Academies Launched

Palm Desert, CA – Science/Technology/Engineering/Mathematics (STEM) education has been a hot topic in recent years, as politicians and business leaders worry over the lack of qualified workers in science and engineering. Although much public discussion focuses on higher education and high school curriculum, educators and others are realizing that for students to really get hooked on the sciences, STEM instruction must start early. 

Traditionally, students hit the books to find their information and may not have many opportunities to apply that learning in hands-on or real-world experiences. A STEM education breaks away from that tradition, engaging students directly with the course material as an incentive to dig deeper, conduct research, and apply their learning in rich and relevant contexts. When students understand all the advantages a STEM education has to offer, when they understand how active learning applies to the world and to their lives, when they make discoveries that put theory into action—eyes are opened to a rich array of career and life opportunities. 

Two exciting new magnet schools are about to open in the City of La Quinta beginning in the 2016-2017 school year. With a new emphasis comes a fresh “rebranding” as the schools consider names that announce their transformation. Current frontrunners are, Discovery STEM Academy: La Quinta (grades 6-8) and Discovery STEM Academy: Truman (grades K-5). These free public schools will approach teaching and learning using a STEM philosophy that includes: Grounding STEM education in “real life” problems. Student participation in original research projects Student internships and mentorship with STEM professionals In general, studies show that specialized STEM schools make a difference. Their graduates pursue STEM fields in college at a rate of nearly 50% higher than that of the other students. Compared with the national average, nearly 20% more selective STEM graduates earn a STEM-related postsecondary degree within four years of graduating from high school. (

STEM is not just for scientists anymore. In today’s economy, almost any job with decent pay requires STEM skills, and many jobs require advanced STEM abilities. But far too many U.S. residents are unprepared for the occupational demands of the 21st Century. Formerly a world leader in math and science achievement, the United States is struggling to keep up. Fewer students enroll in STEM courses and master STEM content than young people in other countries. The problem is now no mere point of pride—the lack of knowledge undermines the nation’s economic productivity and global competitiveness. The STEM academies at Truman and La Quinta will respond to this challenge by offering rigorous curricula, uniquely trained and prepared teachers, more hands-on experiences, and state-of-the-art resources. Once implemented, these schools will be a beacon for other schools seeking to encourage young people to think deeply to become the innovators, educators, researchers, and leaders who can solve the most pressing challenges facing our nation and our world, both today and tomorrow.

For more information, or to enroll your child in a Desert Sands Unified School District Discovery STEM
Academy, please contact the Child Welfare and Attendance office at 760-771-8612. Check out for additional information. DSUSD is an open enrollment district. Transfer requests are accepted through March 31

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