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Decide if a STEM High School Is Right for Your Child

Some high schools are STEM in name only, so parents should investigate before enrolling their child. 

High school students in a science classroom.

A great STEM high school has well-educated teachers, community support and a dynamic school leader, experts say.

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The best STEM high schools have close community connections, so parents should look for a commitment from the district and the state to supporting the school, she says. Parents should also evaluate the school's track record of forming partnerships with businesses and setting students up with internships and other opportunities for learning after school. 

[Learn what questions to ask when choosing a high school.] 

Other characteristics to look for include strong student services, project-based learning and a teaching staff with a STEM background, she says. Ideally, schools should also be using technology in thoughtful ways, offer early college courses and have administrators who are flexible and quick to adapt to new challenges.

While judging a school by that criteria can be helpful, Lynch notes that ultimately parents are still taking a risk, particularly if they are considering one of the many new STEM high schools popping up across the country. 

Fortunately for Cerajewski, the risk paid off. 

"It wasn't without its bumps," she says of her daughter's experience. "But by the end of the semester she loved it. She couldn't imagine being anywhere else."

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