2016 STEM Academy Enrollment Explodes!


October 15, 2016

The DPIE STEM Academy provides high school students a local option for accelerating their studies and affords them more options during the school year.The popularity of the DPIE STEM Enrichment Academy exploded this summer as the program more than doubled in size from the previous year as it welcomed a record 834 students to our classrooms. The Academy was held at Dublin High School from June 13th – July 22nd has more than quadrupled in size from its beginning in 2012 when it enrolled 200 students from the Dublin High School. This year’s Academy offered 6-week programs ranging from Video Production & Algebra 1 to Honors Chemistry & Trigonometry/Pre-Calculus for high school students and high-interest 3-week course choices like Automation & Robotics, Computer Programming and Leadership for middle school enrollees. All high school courses were graded and earned credit toward high school graduation. Asked about the growing popularity of the STEM Academy, Dublin High Principal, Maureen Byrne had this to say,

The DPIE Summer Academy is a great opportunity for students. They get a chance to go deeply into one subject, allowing them to either advance to explore other courses during the school year. The program is rigorous and prepares students for the next level.

Affordable Local Option

Former DHS Assistant principal and District Office Director, Bill Branca, who has been with the Academy from its beginning, is not surprised by the growth of the program.

The DPIE STEM Academy provides high school students a local option for accelerating their studies and affords them more options during the school year. I am not surprised that the program continues to grow because of the quality of our teachers and the fact that students leave our program ready for the next class. –Mr. Bill Branca

By far, the most demanded class last summer was Geometry, students completely filled 9 sections of the class. There were three sections of Biology and two sections each of Algebra 1, Algebra 2/Trig, Trig/Pre-Calculous and Honors Chemistry.

Parents & Students Voice Support

Parent surveys were effusive about their child’s experiences.

The hours for the class were good and just long enough to keep the kids engaged and focused,” said one parent. “Plus, there were still 3 weeks of vacation left at the end of the Academy which gave kids enough time to relax and enjoy their summer before heading back to school in mid-August.

One student who responded to a post Academy survey shared her excitement for the program.

I enjoyed being able to focus on just one subject exclusively with no other subjects to distract me. Having only one class allowed me to learn better and since a lot of work was completed in class I was able to get immediate feedback. As a result I really enjoyed the class and learned the material.

A total of 32 teachers, most of whom work at Dublin High or at one of the District’s middle schools, helped staff Academy teaching positions. However, this summer the Academy was able to attract experienced teachers from surrounding schools as well. Including teachers from the Pleasanton, San Ramon, Livermore districts and several private schools. DHS administrators Maureen Byrne and Bill Branca once again served as the administrative team for the Academy during the summer.

Academy Is Exciting

Asked why she enjoyed teaching in the Academy, current Dublin High Assistant Principal, Lenni Velez, who taught Trigonometry/Pre-Calculus in each of the last two Academies, shared her excitement about the program.

It is invigorating to teach such a great group of students that are excited to learn, take on the challenge of a fast-paced course, and engage in meaningful conversations around the material.

In 2013, the Academy expanded course offerings to middle school students and opened its doors to students from outside of Dublin. This year more than 175 middle school students enrolled in the Academy and 275 or one-third of the 834 students came from private schools or public schools outside of DUSD.

Enrollment Begins on December 1

Planning is already underway for the 2017 STEM Enrichment program and we are looking to expand course offerings for both high school and middle schools students. You will be able to read about our program at www.dpie.org. Online enrollment for summer of 2017 will begin on December 1st.