Frequently Asked Questions

A1: STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering and mathematics, areas that have been identified as critical for future economic growth. There are several STEM academies around the state, designed to increase student achievement by engaging and exposing students to innovative science and math instruction. Each academy will provide a rigorous, well-rounded education with outstanding science and math instruction, with technology integrated across the curriculum.

The Texas Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Initiative is a component of the Texas High School Project, which is committed to increasing graduation rates and college enrollment. Funding comes from a variety of public and private sources.

A2: No, STEM attracts students from diverse social and academic backgrounds. All students at STEM take Pre-AP courses because we believe all students, regardless of background, can achieve at a high academic level when provided a supportive environment. There is no preference given to any applicants based upon prior academic performance or program participation.

A3: The academy is a small school-within-a-school. Approximately 100 students per grade level will make up the academy. Teachers, students and parents will work cooperatively to develop a community of learners and provide a rigorous well-rounded education that prepares students for life after high school.

Students will be engaged through a hands-on, problem-based, project-based focus. These real-world applications will make learning relevant to student's lives. The curricular program for the academy will help prepare students to graduate on the Distinguished Achievement Plan, and specialty electives will be created to prepare students for the challenges of the 21 st century. A non-graded advisory will focus on building relationships and personalizing the student experience.

Students will complete four years of high school mathematics and science, participate in STEM related extracurricular activities and complete internships with local businesses. The academy will build a college-going culture, with the goal of students graduating with 12 to 30 college hours. There may be some summer activities that your child may be asked to attend to prepare them for success in the academy.

A4: The academy is housed on the Robert E. Lee High School and Nimitz Middle School campuses. It is designed to appeal to students that are interested in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

A5: Admission is open to all students, with a random lottery used as a selection method. Applications will be available at the Academy, or through school counselors.

A6: The Academy will create a system of academic support and mentoring to allow motivated students to have access to the most challenging learning opportunities while assuring that success is within their reach. Students will be expected to take responsibility for their learning and take advantage of support opportunities.

A7: Innovative usage of technology will be a cornerstone of the academy experience. Each student will have access to a laptop computer for use in their studies, and a full technological interface for project-based learning, a state-of-the-art remote accessible server, and a sophisticated parent portal for full sharing of all assignments, grades, attendance, and discipline will be available. These two components will provide the needed infrastructure to integrate technology seamlessly into the day to day work life of the school.

A8: STEM students who live in the Nimitz Middle School and/or Lee High School attendance and bus zone are eligible to ride their neighborhood school bus. STEM students who live in other areas of NEISD are able to take a morning and afternoon shuttle to and from their home middle/high school (the middle/high school they would normally attend).

A9: Yes, STEM students are eligible to participate in Nimitz Middle School and/or Lee High School extra-curricular and UIL activities STEM students are encouraged to be a part of the Nimitz and/or Lee community and participate in Nimitz and/or Lee High School athletics, band, orchestra, and academic contests.

A10: The Academy opened in 2007-2008 with a group of about 100 6th graders and 100 9th graders. One additional grade level was added each year at both middle school and high school until the academy reached full capacity in 2010-2011. Students must be on grade level and pass all their STEM classes in order to be invited back each year.

Students are broadly exposed to careers and learning fields and will be given the opportunity to “major” in one or more of them in their junior and senior years. Part of the “majoring” will assist students in honing in on an internship as well as a Senior Capstone Research Project in their area of interest. These opportunities will pair students with mentors and institutions in the community as they deepen their knowledge and skills. Linked closely with this will be the expectation of leadership and service to the school and community. Students will be expected to complete 120 hours of service during their tenure at the Academy.

A11: The STEM Academy has some similarities to other magnet programs such as KSAT, iMAK, DATA and ETA. It provides opportunities to replicate portions of these successful programs related to STEM in another part of the district. This will allow students to remain in their neighborhood schools while still having the advantage of a magnet program. The STEM Academy focuses on both pure and applied science, engineering, technology, and mathematics, with a focus to prepare students for pursuing a science or technical major in college.

The Academy is a 1 to 1 technology initiative in which each student has access to a laptop computer to use in their studies. Technology is embedded in all aspects of their educational experience, with students becoming e-citizens of the 21 st century. The Academy is a model school using innovative practices, and serves as a professional development site that other schools and districts visit and emulate.