STEM students get hands-on learning at School of Excellence in Education

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SAN ANTONIO – STEM education ensures that students are prepared to meet the challenges of the 21st Century.

Chelsea Reyes, biology teacher and wildlife club sponsor at Milton B. Lee Academy, said students in STEM are encouraged to utilize critical thinking, persuasive writing logic and reasoning problem-solving skills.

She said the School of Excellence in Education was founded in 1998 as one of the first charter schools in San Antonio. It's a publicly funded charter school district dedicated to bridging the critical gaps in education by creating a smooth transition for students as they navigate through their academic careers.

“We are recognized by the (Texas Education Agency) as a Quality STEM Academy, which means we have a very high focus in science, technology, engineering and math,” she said. “One of our other main focuses is not just building our students’ character, but getting them career- and college-ready.”

She said the school offers a high level of AP courses and clubs that meet regularly. One example is the Junior Wildlife Society, which has a partnership with Texas State University. University student mentors are paired with STEM students, teaching them different research techniques.

“Not just in engineering, but (the mentors) introduce them to all the sciences, (including) the life sciences, as well,” Reyes said.

She said students from all over San Antonio are encouraged to apply to the academy, and transportation is available to pick up the students from wherever they live.

“Different students have gone on to (everywhere from) the University of Texas at Austin to West Point Academy,” she said. “We’ve had lots of wonderful students who have gone on to do great things.”

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