For those that are not familiar, STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. As a focus for Ruskin’s STEM project, students in each grade-level participate in standards-based lessons that integrate STEM. To make learning more authentic for the students, instructors from Coastal Pines meet with Ruskin’s students and teachers to share their wealth of knowledge in the fields they teach that are related to the school’s STEM project.

To kick off the partnership, Mr.Tommy Peagler, the Forestry Instructor for Coastal Pines, presented to Kindergarteners, first and second graders about the importance of managing forests. Students not only listened with enthusiasm, but also posed many great questions to tap into Mr. Peagler’s expertise. Students and teachers expressed that they look forward to learning more from the Coastal Pines instructors. In addition to the partnership with Coastal Pines, Ruskin has also gained Republic Services as a sponsor to help support the project. Republic Services representatives, Mr. Richard Lee, the Division Manager, and Mr. Lonnie Jones, the Operations Supervisor, have worked with the 3rd grade teachers to help educate them on the importance of waste management which goes hand in hand with their “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” science unit. Mr. Lee and Mr. Jones expressed their delight in helping students learn how to care for the environment at an early age and about being part of this project.

Enthusiasm about Ruskin’s school-wide STEM project is escalating as the project unfolds across the grade-levels. Each grade has a “job” that correlates with their standards and fits into the school-wide project. Principal Solomon expressed her excitement in her statement, "Our students are engaged and inspired by the wonders of STEM and according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in STEM related occupations is projected to grow to more than 9 million between 2012 and 2022. Therefore, we are preparing our students for tomorrow's jobs."