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They are the innovators, movers, and shakers of the future. Harlingen CISD commemorated the start of hundreds of careers in science, technology, engineering, math, and medicine with a ribbon cutting ceremony at STEM² Preparatory Academy held Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018.

Superintendent Dr. Art Cavazos and Board of Trustees President Greg Powers along with members of the community were on hand to celebrate the journey that led to the opening of the Academy.

“We want to equip our students with the knowledge they need to compete on a global stage. We at HCISD have been on a mission guided by our Strategic Plan to change course and offer choices and opportunities throughout our district,” said Dr. Cavazos. “I want to thank our HCISD Board of Trustees because they had the vision to create a preparatory academy to allow kids to be creative and really innovative. It takes moments like this to change the course of where we are, and it takes brave individuals like Sonya Brandenburg and her entire staff to pave the way, break glass ceilings, and make the impossible, possible.”

STEM² features a small learning environment with a STEM and medical rich curriculum that incorporates 1:1 technology. In class, students are challenged to tackle complex, global issues, all while cultivating the 4C’s — Communication, Collaboration, Creativity, and, Critical Thinking.

“The partnerships that we have established thus far, allow our students to experience real-world, problem-solving activities that focus not only on the curriculum but soft skills as well to prepare them for their future academic and workforce endeavors,” said principal Sonya Brandenburg. “STEM² Preparatory Academy has some exciting times ahead as we develop and flourish to a full campus that will service approximately 280, sixth, seventh, and eighth-grade students next year.”

Every Friday, students can create their own schedules and work on projects in their areas of interest. These are called Design Fridays, and they aim to enhance authentic experiences for students.

“Design Fridays have helped students like me who may not know what they want to do when grow up,” said seventh-grader Christopher Heiskell. “Because of STEM² I have made new friends and have had brand new experiences. It has opened my eyes and broadened my horizons as to what I can become and who I can be.”

STEM² Preparatory Academy will host an Open House on Thursday, Nov. 29 at 5:30 p.m. for students interested in attending in the 2019-2020 school year. Current STEM² students do not need to re-apply.

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