Date of Award

12-2014

Culminating Project Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Educational Administration and Leadership, K-12: Ed.D.

Department

Educational Administration and Higher Education

College

School of Education

First Advisor

John Eller

Second Advisor

Roger Worner

Third Advisor

Frances Kayona

Fourth Advisor

Kay Worner

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

STEM Magnet Schools

Abstract

The STEM concept is a means of providing an alternative, interdisciplinary program using inquiry and project based learning or other forms of advanced learning methodology. According to Thomas & Williams (2010), an educational concentration on the sciences and technology is not a new initiative; it was first introduced during the second half of the twentieth century. By the 1980s, it quickly became an educational trend that prompted governmental support for STEM programs (Thomas & Williams, 2010).

As recently as 2009, President Obama promoted his goal of moving United States students to a top international ranking among comparable nations by providing 100 million dollars to train STEM teachers in content understanding and teaching skills that give students a competitive edge (The President’s Math and Science Teachers Initiative, 2011). STEM supporters are convinced that with quality K-12 educational programming in mathematics & science, including the integration of technology and engineering, United States students will surpass other nations as leaders in the global market for jobs in STEM related fields (Brown, Brown, Reardon & Merrill, 2011).

Although the literature is replete with research studies and reports that outline the history, implementation, and characteristics of magnet schools, as well as the evolution of the STEM movement, little was found on sustainability of STEM programs operating as magnet schools across the nation. Successful implementation and public reporting of school improvements specific to student performance and enrollment are important, but do not ensure sustainability of a program (U.S. Department of Education, 2008).

This study examined multiple program elements identified from the literature that school administrators report lead to sustainability of STEM themed magnet schools. Study results reported on the current impact and predicted future impact that select program elements have on sustainability of specialized, STEM themed magnet programs.

This study was designed to support the importance of sustaining STEM themed programs in schools. Whether the program is offered as a magnet school with integration goals or as a specialized school program, specifically for choice options, the concept needs to be continued to address the academic needs of students in the 21st century. “It is time to move beyond slogans and make STEM literacy a reality for all students” (Bybee, 2013, p. 102).

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