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STEM School Designations

The goal of Idaho Code 33-4701, The Idaho STEM School Designation, is to provide recognition for schools or programs that provide high-quality, inter-disciplinary, multi-grade STEM education based on the criteria of the AdvancEd STEM School Designation model. Interdisciplinary learning models emphasize how STEM is practiced in the real world by STEM professionals. This type of engagement allows students to expand their learning by making connections between ideas and concepts across different disciplinary boundaries as well as within and outside of the school. Students learn to apply the knowledge gained in one discipline to other disciplines and deepen their learning. Educators see their own discipline from a fresh and energizing perspective, building excitement about teaching.

This designation seeks to recognize schools that provide rich STEM learning experiences for students, educators, and communities. It seeks to clearly define the best practices of STEM schools and provide consistent criteria by which schools can measure their progress toward designation.


For questions regarding the STEM School Designation program, please contact John McFarlane, STEM AC.

To schedule a STEM School Review Team from AdvancED, please contact Dale Kleinert, AdvancED.

STATUS: Ongoing

Funding Details (subject to change and dependent on annual appropriation)

Designated: 2.8-4.0 points on AdvancED review = up to $10,000 annually for up to 5 years.


Schools can apply to AdvancED for a review team/certification anytime during the year. STEM designation occurs in December/January timeframe.


Learn More BelowTo learn more about STEM Indicators, click on the buttons below.

STEM Learners


The STEM school/program supports non-traditional student participation through outreach to groups often underrepresented in STEM program areas.


Students work independently and collaboratively in an inquiry-based learning environment that encourages finding creative solutions to authentic and complex problems.


Students are empowered to personalize and self-direct their STEM learning experiences supported by STEM educators who facilitate their learning.


Students use technology resources to conduct research, demonstrate creative and critical thinking, and communicate and work collaboratively.


Students demonstrate their learning through performance-based assessments and express their conclusions through elaborated explanations of their thinking.

STEM Educators


The interdisciplinary problem-based curriculum includes a focus on real-world applications.


STEM educators collaborate as an interdisciplinary team to plan, implement and improve integrated STEM learning experiences.


STEM learning outcomes demonstrate students’ STEM literacy necessary for the next level of STEM learning and for postsecondary and workforce readiness.


STEM teachers and leaders participate in a continuous program of STEM-specific professional learning.

STEM Experiences


Community, postsecondary, business/industry partners, and/or families actively support and are engaged with teachers and students in the STEM program.


Students are supported in their STEM learning through adult-world connections and extended day opportunities.

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