The Menomonie school board Monday approved a five-year strategic plan, which includes a goal of offering a STEM certificate at Menomonie High School in the 2019-2020 school year.
MHS students could earn the certificate — which would focus on science, engineering, technology and mathematics — by completing STEM courses, student activities with a STEM focus and finishing a STEM-related capstone project, director of instruction Brian Seguin said in May.
The board hasn’t approved the STEM certificate; it first discussed the proposal at a May meeting.
A board member Monday disagreed with the certificate’s place on the strategic plan.
“There were some questions raised … to think about how you make that STEM accessibility equitable for students,” board member Chris Freeman said, recommending the board take another week to look at the plan before voting. Freeman in May said the certificate could put students who aren’t studying STEM at a disadvantage.
District administrator Joe Zydowsky said the strategic plan isn’t asking the board to approve a STEM certificate now, but is responding to community comments about preparing students for careers and college.
The plan is a changing document; staff will bring the plan back to the board each year with specific action plans, Zydowsky said.
The district created the plan with two surveys, over 40 focus groups, a steering committee and input from employees, students and parents, Zydowsky said.
According to the plan, the district has several goals by summer 2020: increasing student participation in dual-credit courses by at least 2 percent per year, increasing internships for high school students by at least 1 percent per year and increasing the number of students entering college by at least 0.5 percent per year.
The district will also aim to train staff in adolescent mental health and create a system to track student-reported mental health emergencies by the summer of 2020, according to the plan.
The district also has a goal to build secure entrances at Oaklawn Elementary, Menomonie Middle and Knapp Elementary schools by the summer of 2020, according to the plan.