STEM stands for "science, technology, engineering and math" — all crucial subjects of study in the modern economy and especially in Silicon Valley, according to Barry Groves, superintendent of the Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District.
"STEM is one of our focus areas over the next six years," Groves said, referring to the entire district.
MVLA schools are focusing on STEM education for a number of reasons he said. Not only are there a growing number of career opportunities for scientists, engineers and mathematicians, he explained, but jobs in STEM fields are exciting and potentially world-changing.
In October, Los Altos High School marked its seventh annual Science and Technology Week — held each year to both educate and inspire students by bringing speakers and real-world applications of technology to the school with which the teens can interact. Groves said that many parents and teachers from his district attended the Los Altos event and were inspired to launch something similar at their school.
Even though MVHS is only having a STEM day, the spirit of the event is the same as LAHS' week (which also began as a single-day event).
Science and technology professionals — from the SETI Institute, Stanford and Google will be giving lectures on topics such as "Looking for ET," "Mathematics gives you wings," and "Engineering luck."
"It really creates a link between what they're doing in a classroom and what they would do as a career or in the real world," Groves said, adding he is "ecstatic" to see the launch of Mountain View's STEM Day.
It's a smaller version of LAHS' week-long science- and tech-oriented event. And that is purposeful, Groves said. Those spearheading the effort at Mountain View said they wanted to start slow, but that they may very well grow the event down the road.