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STEM school opens at Laughlin

Scott Priscilla, third grade schoolteacher, reads a story to children attending Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas’ newly opened science, technology, engineering and mathematics school, Aug. 22, 2018. The arrival and opening of the school brings new opportunities to the San Felipe Del Rio Independent School District and the base, while also being the first STEM school ever built on a military installation.

LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, TEXAS --

The memories of grade school, for many, either brings up times of their youth, school sporting events, or opportunities for the country's bright minds of the future.

That's why for many base personnel, parents and students, the arrival and opening of Laughlin's science, technology, engineering and mathematics orientated school this week brings new opportunities to the San Felipe Del Rio Independent School District and the base, while also being the first STEM school ever built on a military installation.

Libana Milender, Laughlin STEM school principal, describes the kindergarten-to-fifth grade level school as an advanced, more affordable and convenient way for Laughlin personnel to accommodate work schedules without sacrificing time or quality of education.

“It’s a new way of introducing and teaching concepts to younger children and letting them broaden their range of ability early,” Milender said. “We know that Laughlin is a training base, and because every STEM field is present [on base] and the influences it has on their children, so why not utilize it?”

Classes began Aug. 20, with orientations the previous week to give parents and guardians an opportunity to meet their children's future teachers and faculty.

“All of our kindergarten to five teachers are childhood to fifth to sixth grade certified teachers,” she said. “Our teachers can do anything they’re asked to do, because they’re all certified and well trained.”

For Milender, students attending the school can expect independent research and encouragement to ask questions related to the what’s, how’s and why’s of kinds of problems, and how to solve them using a STEM approach.

“The idea is that we open up that curiosity at an early stage, and try not to lose that momentum,” she said. “We hope that, as the school grows, and the teachers set about their approach to the new curriculum, more hands-on work will make its way into the curriculum.”

For more information about the school, its programs and enrollment information, please contact the Laughlin STEM school at (830) 778-4110.