As part of the activities to make the first day of school for public school students in St. Mary’s County, local government and education officials toured schools Wednesday morning in groups.

St. Mary’s Schools Superintendent Michael Martirano was part of the group visiting Spring Ridge Middle School. He was accompanied by Maryland Senator Roy Dyson, Maryland Delegate John Bohanan, Patuxent Naval Air Station Commander Capt. Glen Ives, Board of Education Chairman Sal Raspa, and St. Mary’s Commissioners President Jackie Russell.

The roving group of officials visited classrooms and learned about a new technology-driven program dubbed STEM, which is short for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

Synopsis of the grant-funded program follows. See the district’s STEM Web site for more information.

St. Mary’s Schools has developed a rigorous and unique program of study emphasizing the core areas of mathematics and science with an infusion of technology and engineering. This STEM program will be offered at three schools: Lexington Park Elementary, Spring Ridge Middle, and Great Mills High School. The proximity of these three schools to the Naval Air Station, Patuxent River and the Technology Corridor make them ideal sites.

The Lexington Park Elementary School STEM Academy will serve fourth and fifth grade students with teamed teachers offering comprehensive coursework focused upon the interrelation of science, engineering, and mathematics. The fifth grade year will conclude with students participating in Star Base Atlantis offered at the Patuxent Naval Air Station through the Department of Defense.

The Spring Ridge Middle School STEM Academy will offer tailored mathematics, science, and technology courses taught by interdisciplinary teacher teams. The courses will be designed to deepen understanding of STEM learning by exposing students to the most current trends in technology, engineering, and science.

The Great Mills High School STEM Academy will offer unique courses in English, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, giving students extraordinary knowledge and skills, as well as career exploration in numerous science and engineering pathways. The curricula will include dedicated research classes founded upon the application of mastered material integrated contemporary technologies and extensive problem-solving experience. Advanced Placement courses in all content areas will be incorporated as well