What is the STEM Explorations Academy?

Welcome to the Skyline Middle School STEM Explorations Academy! We are very excited about this exciting program and hope that you are too.

The STEM Explorations Academy program is an integrative science and engineering course that spans two periods, one core period and one elective period. Students in 7th grade will meet the requirements for Life Science (Standards of Learning) and Introduction to Technology (tech competencies) and students in 8th grade will meet the requirements for Physical Science (Standards of Learning) and Technology Foundations (tech competencies), but will do so very differently than if they were taking separate courses. Most units will be based on an open-ended engineering design challenge where students will work in teams to design and build a solution to the problem. Other units will look more like those in a traditional science or engineering class. 

  • 7th Grade STEM with Ms. Lambert
  • 8th Grade STEM with Ms. Watson & Mr. Peake

Are you interested in applying for the STEM Explorations Academy?

Current 6th grade students can apply to be in the STEM Explorations Academy for their 7th and 8th grade years. For more information about the STEM Explorations Academy and the application process, plan on coming to the Information Meeting on Thursday, February 8, 2018 at 6:00 in the SKMS Maker Space, Room 233 (upstairs, at the far end of the hall).  

  1. Fill out the Online Application and submit by 4:00 pm on Friday, February 16, 2018
    Print and fill out an application (pdf version). Printed copies are also available from your science teacher and the main office. Return it to the main office by 4:00 pm on Friday, February 16, 2018.

  2. We will contact your current math and science teachers for a recommendation.

  3. We will checking on the other application categories including grades, reading level, SOL scores, absenses, etc.

  4. If you meet the minimum number of application points, wou will have a conversation with one of the application committee members and do a directed STEM activity.

  5. Staffing, space, and equipment limit the number of students we can accept. There is a high standard for being considered and if there are more qualified applicants than available slots, then a lottery system could be utilized.

  6. A letter is sent home letting you know if you were accepted, accepted but placed on a wait list, or declined. This usually happens by late April. Due to the redistricting we anticipate a larger wait list than usual with a second round of acceptances shortly before the start of school in August.

  7. If you are accepted to the program, complete the form that was mailed to you and return it to the main office by May 12, otherwise your position will be given to a student who is on the alternate list.

About the STEM Explorations Academy

Check out this presentation for some information about the STEM Explorations Academy. 

Also, check out the links in the menu to see what current STEM Explorations Academy students are doing.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Is the STEM Explorations Academy an after school program?
    No, it takes place during the school day. Students attend the STEM Exploration Academy classes in place of their regular science class and one elective. 
  2. Is there any cost to participate?
    There are no fees to participate. Some field trips require a small additional fee. Any other activities that require a fee are optional. 
  3. Will students be prepared for the SOL test?
    Yes, in both the 7th and 8th grade STEM programs address the grade level science standards of learning as well as the technology competencies for the elective class. Students still take the benchmark tests throughout the year and SOL test at the end of 8th grade at the same times as other students.
  4. Is this a gifted program?
    No, this program is open to all students who are interested in STEM.
  5. Do students have to apply in both 6th grade and 7th grade for the STEM Explorations Academy?
    No, students apply in 6th grade for both their 7th and 8th grade years. Students interested in STEM who do not apply in 6th grade can apply for the Harrisonburg High School STEM Governor's Academy when they are in 8th grade. 
  6. I'm in 7th grade (or 8th grade). Can I apply for the STEM Explorations Academy?
    Usually not. This is a two year program and candidates are accepted in their 6th grade year. We do not accept students into the STEM Explorations Academy after the start of their 7th grade year unless they were accepted into the program and placed on the wait list or there is some other special circumstance, like you moved to SKMS after the application process was over. Even if you are not in the STEM Explorations Academy, you can still apply for the Harrisonburg High School STEM Governor's Academy when you are in 8th grade.
  7. I am not currently enrolled at Skyline Middle School. Can I apply to the STEM Explorations Academy?
    ~ Any student who is currently enrolled in sixth grade at any Harrisonburg City Public School is eligible to apply to the STEM Academy. Students who are not at an HCPS school but will be enrolling for their 7th grade year may complete an application, but if qualified, will be placed on the wait list. Students on the wait list may be accepted later during their 7th grade year or for their 8th grade year if space is available.
    ~ If you will be changing HCPS middle schools due to the redistricting, you will apply at your home school and your application information will be forwared to your new school. 
  8. I'm interested in the Harrisonburg High School STEM Governor's Academy. Do I have to be in the SKMS STEM Explorations Academy to apply?
    No, any 8th grade student who will be attending Harrisonburg High School can apply for the STEM Govenor's Academy.

Last updated on February 8, 2018


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