STEM For All
Our educational community is committed to challenging all individuals to realize their potential as learners by providing "future ready" opportunities for intellectual, emotional and physical growth. Apple Valley High School is a STEM School dedicated to Academics, Arts and Athletics and we practice that in everything we do. Our STEM For All philosophy creates opportunities with every student to be problem finders and solution makers in every class. For a deeper look into STEM careers while enrolled AVHS students can also sign up for our optional E3 STEM program.
STEM education has become increasingly popular as parents and policymakers realize the critical role it plays in enabling the United States to remain the economic and technological leader of the global marketplace. In 2014, District 196 received a $2.99 million federal grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to transform Apple Valley High School into a school with a dedicated Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math focus over four years. A key goal of the program is to get a broad spectrum of students to pursue STEM careers to reduce the need for H-1B visas for U.S. corporations.
The STEM program was designed to connect Apple Valley students with a variety of experiences that will prepare them for post-secondary education and careers in STEM fields. Through the U.S. Department of Labor Youth CareerConnect grant, AVHS initially provided opportunities for free college credits, connections with local business partners, real-world problem-solving experiences, and support services to help each student reach their full potential. With the end of Federal grant funding the program has evolved to support the increase in STEM course offerings within Apple Valley High School in order to make these opportunities accessible to all students. STEM career exploration and counseling continue to expand as we grow our base of community partners with the goal of providing these opportunities for all AVHS students.
STEM Innovator® aims to widen the talent pipeline of students prepared for STEM careers and future entrepreneurial pathways -- vital to advancing our nation's economic prosperity. To be future ready, students need opportunities to work on real-world problems, engage in collaborative teams, identify and leverage resources, and design viable solutions to meet community needs.
In Dan Seppala’s College Linear Algebra and Differential Equations class, students have focused finding problems around the building to solve. One example is their entrance to the school lot and the issues of traffic flow, as people tend to wait and turn in from one direction at a time. “If they are able to find a viable solution to the problem, it would increase traffic flow into the lot and reduce the number of tardies to first hour for students that drive,” said Seppala.
Other instructors’ classes are using the Innovator for service projects that address problems within the community. In teacher Chris Lee’s Fab Lab, this students take problems of their choosing and create prototypes of solutions for their problems.
“Our motto is creating problem finders and solution makers,” stated Ruth Larson, educator at AVHS. “We have been successful in helping our administration, students, and parents see the benefit, value, and opportunities that STEM Innovator brings to our building.” AVHS had their team and Dr. Leslie Flynn present their successes at the Invent Ed Convening with in Washington DC last fall.
Our proven and unique E3 STEM Program at AVHS is an optional path to take within our Award Winning "Triple A" School that focuses on the Exploration, Education and Employment of our students in all STEM career possibilities. While AVHS has a "STEM For All" philosophy with every student, this program gives them a chance to sign up and dig deeper into what STEM can offer after they graduate.
This program is designed to connect Apple Valley students with a variety of experiences that will prepare them for postsecondary education and careers in STEM fields. We provide opportunities for free college credits, connections with local business partners, real-world problem-solving experiences, and support services to help each student reach his/her full potential. Within the program, students select a career pathway that guides their course selection and their job shadow and mentoring opportunities. Students have access to individualized career and college counseling, tutoring in math and science, the support of our cohort model, and workshops on career readiness. Learn more about the E3 STEM Program at AVHS Here.
District 196 is a national leader in STEM education and incorporates a "STEM For All" philosophy. We established a Pre-K STEM Pathway at our four STEM-focused magnet schools. From an early age, students learn the importances of researching, experimenting, analyzing and critical thinking. We believe the classes offered in this pathway are more than just curriculum, but rather an innovative approach to learning in the 21st century.
Students following the STEM Pathway begin their journey at either Cedar Park Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) School or Echo Park School or Leadership, Engineering and Technology. They continue their learning at Valley Middle School of STEM, followed by an immersive and rigorous educational experience at Apple Valley High School.
- US Department of Labor
- Augustana Regent
- Best Buy
- BTM Global
- Dakota Electric
- Frontier Communications
- Genesys Works
- Matrix Communications
- Million Women Mentors
- Park Chrysler Jeep
- Thomson Reuters
- UTC Aerospace
- Contributing Partners:
- Fairview Hospitals
- General Dynamics
- Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare
- Marty Chiropractic
- Microsoft Technology Center
- PAAP Drones
- Target Corporation
- University of Wisconsin-Stout
- Wings Financial
Interested in joining this list? Email avhsSTEM@district196.org
- Eastman School of Music
- Louisiana State University
- Morehouse College
- Penn State
- University of California – Berkeley
- University of Notre Dame
- St. Olaf
- Naval Academy Annapolis
- U of M Engineering, Carlson School of Business
- University of Michigan Engineering
- University of Illinois Engineering
- Purdue Engineering
National STEM Excellence Award Winner
Apple Valley High School received the 2019 STEM Excellence Award in the high school category at the national Future of Education Technology Conference in Orlando Jan. 30. The award recognizes schools for their innovative approaches to implementing science, technology, engineering and math education.
“This is tremendous recognition for our school and our program,” said teacher Jim Lynch, who oversees Apple Valley’s E3 STEM program. “It affirms the work we are doing and the opportunities we are providing students to explore STEM learning and career possibilities.”
In 2014, District 196 received nearly $3 million through a federal YouthConnect grant from the U.S. departments of education and labor. The grant supported the establishment of the E3 STEM program, focusing on exploration, education and employment. Through partnerships with businesses and colleges, the program has expanded students’ opportunities for hands-on learning and exposure to career pathways in STEM-related fields. Students are able to earn college credits in some of their coursework and experience real-world learning through internships with business partners like SFM Mutual, Thomson Reuters and Uponor.
The grant also funded creation of Apple Valley’s fabrication lab, or “fab lab,” which has equipment and machines that give students the ability to design and make almost anything they can imagine.
“The fab lab has played a key role in helping us establish our ‘STEM for All’ philosophy by integrating its use into an increasing number of our courses,” Lynch said. “Learning becomes so much more authentic when students can design and produce products that can be used by others in the real world.”
The fab lab and the school’s commitment to providing opportunities for all students were main factors in the judges’
decision to select Apple Valley for the STEM Excellence Award. Over the last four years, Apple Valley has become a thriving STEM-focused school, and with the support of the YouthConnect grant, has provided access for all students and increased participation in programs that prepare them for success in the 21st century workplace.
“What E3 STEM helped me and other students achieve is incredible,” said Apple Valley senior Serena Abraham. “The combination of guidance and opportunities to explore different career fields has made me a more well-rounded student overall. With the support system in place, I can make the transition from high school to college and beyond with confidence.”