DASD STEM Academy

The Downingtown STEM Academy is a magnet high school in the Downingtown Area School District, the largest school district in Chester County, PA.  Downingtown has three high schools, two traditional high schools and the STEM Academy.

The Downingtown STEM Academy is an International Baccalaureate world school and a STEM school, a combination found no where else in the world.  The school serves 9-12 grade students, and the school will reach full enrollment of approximately 850 students during the 2013-2014 school year.  When it reaches full enrollment, the DASD STEM Academy will be the largest IB diploma school in the western hemisphere!

The DASD STEM Academy opened in the 2011-2012 school year.  During this inaugural year, the school reached new grounds, being identified as an Apple Distinguished School, a rare feat for a new school.

Working with the business community, the DASD STEM Academy staff and administration has created STEM Pathways, real-world exploratory studies for students in 11th and 12th grade.  Check out the STEM curriculum and the STEM Pathways in the 2012-2013 Program of Study.

The DASD STEM Academy was built in the 1930s, during the Great Depression, with federal funding through the Works Progress Administration.  The building has undergone several renovations, with the most current for the STEM Academy.

Videos (newest videos are first):

-My classroom, shot with my iPod touch

-Summer construction, shot with my iPod touch

-My classroom in early July 2011, shot with my iPod touch

16 thoughts on “DASD STEM Academy

  1. Manish Hari Suryapalam October 12, 2012 / 1:59 pm

    I am planning to go to the STEM Academy nest year.

    • Justin Staub, Ed.D. October 15, 2012 / 5:34 pm

      Manish, that’s an audacious statement! I like your boldness. Please remember nearly half who apply do not get in; last year 400+ students applied and we only had seats for 225 or so.

      Try your best and be confident in your submission. Beyond that, do not worry. I can assure you that your submissions is blindly scored by three different teachers and administrators. If you complete the process according to the requirements, you have as equal a chance as anyone. Good luck.

      • Manish Suryapalam January 3, 2015 / 3:18 pm

        I just realized that I didn’t even spell the sentence right.

      • Sara Billings January 27, 2015 / 6:34 pm

        Too bad there are too many points regarding the writing aspect of the application. Children who may not be great writers, do not have a chance getting in, even if they are great communicators verbally. Very unfair to those who may be a great fit otherwise. Think Bill Gates was a great writer? Some of the brightest men and women in history were not, believe me. Stem is a public school, and needs to be accessible to all, not just those who write well. Sounds as if grades do not really count, and the recommendation is only a third of the score. It all falls on the writing portion.

      • Justin Staub January 27, 2015 / 8:08 pm

        Sara, thank you for sharing your comments. I will pass your comments and my response along to our our headmaster. If you feel inclined, he is the best individual to address concerns about the application You may also take your concerns to him directly.

        As one small part of our school, my insights I share via my blog only represent a small portion of what DASD STEM does. I publish here (however infrequently) to bring attention to even more that our students and teachers do every day.

        Mr. Campbell is best suited to address your questions about our application process. I will pass along your comments to my headmaster.

  2. Ginger Rhodes October 16, 2012 / 9:56 am

    Dr. Staub, I was delighted to run across this site–I was the founding principal of Hughes STEM High School in Cincinnati and your school is looking awesome! Just curious, do you have selective enrollment, if so, what criteria?

    • Justin Staub, Ed.D. October 17, 2012 / 7:46 am

      Ginger, we are almost fully enrolled; we started with just 9th and 10th grade, and are adding a class of new students each year until we have a 9-12 building. With the new incoming class in 2013-2014 our building will be fully enrolled.

      So, we are in the middle of accepting applications for next year. The specific criteria are listed on our school website: http://dasd-sharepoint.dasd.org/Schools/STEMAcademy/Counseling/Pages/Applying-to-the-Academy.aspx

      The goal was to create a system so all kids could apply and so applications would be scored blindly. Our only academic requirement is a C average in core courses in 6-8 grades. This is pretty easy to accomplish. Otherwise, anyone can apply.

      I would love to know what you think, and I would love to hear how your process worked.

  3. helena January 6, 2013 / 7:02 pm

    I applied to the STEM Academy, but was put on the waiting list. How much of a chance is there that I will still get in?

  4. Wallada August 6, 2013 / 12:57 am

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  5. Casey October 18, 2013 / 11:16 am

    I go to West Chester Area School District and was wondering if StEM accepts entries from West Chester? Thanks, Casey

  6. Abhinav Singh September 17, 2014 / 7:39 pm

    I have spent 2 years training to be a stem student and my life dream is to going to stem academy. I have practically studied and trained to that criteria rigorously, and it matches, I am an 8th grade student hopes to be next year be a stem student. I have one question if I am an 8th grade student next year 1 9th grade, do I go to my regular high school school and then possibly transfer to stem or do I do requirements in the summer and start next year right from stem

    Abhinav SIngh
    (hopefully a stem student)

  7. Luis Almonte July 22, 2015 / 3:48 pm

    It’s sad that the application and acceptance to the school just focus on the writing aspect. I think the application should a holistic in the sense that it should consider the whole person like: grades, efforts, academicals history, out of school activities and others. For sure there are children that may not be great writers but are great student. STEM as a public school should offer access to all and have a fair application system not only for those who are good at writing.
    I am clear example of the above; as you can see I am not good at writing but because college/universities take a holistic view of the person I have been able to attend to top world universities. You cannot limit a kid growing experience because of his/her writing ability.

  8. Rashmi Singh January 7, 2016 / 6:07 pm

    how do you know what number you are on the waiting list and how can you find out how many points you got?

  9. Johnathan L. Townsend January 7, 2016 / 9:08 pm

    How do I know if I had made it high on the waiting list or low? How many people on the waiting list are accepted into the STEM program every year? Is there a way or a process I can use to find out my score and the average score the others got when they made it in?

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