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TUSD moves forward with science, technology program
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The Turlock Unified School District’s plan to implement a program that will give students the leg-up they need in science and technology was approved by the Board of Trustees.

Starting with the 2013-14 school year, the STEM program will be offered to 30 seventh grade students as an elective program at Turlock Junior High School.  This systematic approach will integrate the content and skills of science, technology, engineering and mathematics over the course of three years and expand to eighth grade students by 2014-15.  A STEM club would be created as well.

“We are creating educational opportunities for our students,” said TUSD Superintendent Sonny DaMarto.  “This program will give them the leg-up they need to compete in a market that is high in demand in science and technology.”

Students will be selected though a ballot process ending mid-February.  Selection will be determined through previous test scores and grades.

“STEM is a rigorous and competitive program that is educationally focused,” said TJHS Principal Dave Kline.  “Students will be required to function at a high level.”

Students participating in the STEM program will be working with electronics and robotics and be asked to create solutions at an integrated level.

“We have gotten a lot of positive feedback from the community about this program,” said DaMarto.  “Due to the high demand for this program, we will have to come up with specific criteria for the students' selection process.”

The STEM program will cost the district up to $70,000 from one-time general fund reserves.  On-going costs include $21,500 from TJHS General Education and categorical funds.