Our Schools

Indicator ST1.1

Indicator ST1.1: The STEM school/program supports non-traditional student participation through outreach to groups often underrepresented in STEM program areas.

Rating: 4

Narrative: Spring Valley High School has an ethnically diverse student body of almost 2,100 students of all socioeconomic levels. Adding to our diversity is the scope of academic abilities we serve, ranging from 154 gifted Discovery students to 265 special needs students and all abilities in between. We use a variety of methods to ensure that all students have STEM opportunities and intentionally target non-traditional student participation in STEM through focused initiatives. To meet the needs of diverse students, we offer college prep, honors, and advanced placement courses in all core content areas and in many of our elective areas.  Although course choice is guided by prerequisites, our waiver policy provides an avenue for parent choice.
Because they are foundational principles integral to STEM success, we want students to embody the traits identified in the Profile of the SC Graduate. We begin outreach to freshmen before 9th grade begins by mailing invitations for Rising 9th Grade Parent Night to everyone in our attendance zone. Our counselors go to the middle schools for individual student/parent registration conferences. Before school opens, we host Fresh Start a half-day event for freshmen to participate in a series of activities to build Viking pride, community, and confidence. Simultaneously, we meet with parents to ease their anxieties, share the Parent Handbook for New Vikings, and introduce them to counselors and administrators. Freshmen attend the Club Fair to learn about extra- and co-curricular opportunities that will help them build life and career skills.
Several Spring Valley initiatives focus on helping under-represented students of all levels sharpen their skills to support success in STEM areas. Our math and science magnets, Discovery and Explorations, strive to attract students from all demographic groups. The Discovery program, geared towards honors students, offers unique opportunities in the fields of science and mathematics, including individual research projects culminating in the opportunity to present research results at regional, national, and/or international competitions. Explorations is designed to assist college preparatory students through problem-based learning, science and math classes infused with technology, labs, computer applications and a culminating 200 hour internship experience. In addition to recruiting through social media, district and school websites, and brochure distribution, we participate in the district magnet fairs and host Magnet Information Night at our school. At all events, we provide interpreters for ELL families and involve magnet students from multiple demographic groups. Many of our magnet students have accommodations ranging from 504 plans to IEPs. The diversity of our magnet program population is attractive to parents from all groups because most, if not all, demographic groups are well-represented. These highly acclaimed programs are often parents’ first choice among district high school magnets, which aids us in serving often underrepresented groups.  Even though women are a definite minority in STEM fields, more than half of our magnet graduates are female, and we are seeing increased numbers of both Hispanic and African-American students.
Our AP Recruitment Program is aimed at intentionally recruiting underrepresented students into Advanced Placement classes. Recruitment is aimed at insuring that our AP program reflects diversity representative of our school’s demographic profile. We use the College Board AP Potential report to identify students who have not taken any AP classes, but whose 10th and 11th grade PSAT scores indicate that they could be successful in AP courses. Although our AP Parent night is open to anyone, we individually invite our potential students’ parents so that we can share information about the program, our AP workshop, and the benefits of taking AP courses. We invite the potential students to hear about the experiences of a previously recruited student, and we offer the support of our AP Workshop during the summer, veteran AP teachers and student mentors throughout the year, and a free AP practice book. Over the four years since its inception, data indicates the success of this program.
SVH students not only have opportunities for STEM experiences in our PLTW Engineering program, AFJROTC program, computer science classes, broad offerings of technology, math, and science classes; teachers across the curriculum routinely offer all Spring Valley students opportunities to engage in STEM experiences with real-world connections through project-based learning, research, and inquiry. Visual arts and graphic design students create original artwork, brochures, web pages, and playbills. Visual arts students set up a weeklong gallery exhibit open to the public. Visual and performing arts students create a Fine Arts Assembly each spring and perform most assemblies. Drama and voice students perform in several theatrical productions each year, and band and orchestra have seasonal recitals. Media broadcast students create and present our daily news show. Health science students organize and facilitate an annual health fair. Student government creates themes and spirit activities throughout the year and implements our annual Winter Days, one of the largest student-driven service projects in the state. Students connect to the greater community though annual events such as the Multicultural Food and Arts Festival, sporting events, Hispanic Family Night, and participation in the Richland School District Two Choice Fair.
In order to reach all of our students and families, we publicize events and opportunities through social media (Twitter and Facebook), as well as our blog (Viking Update), daily school news show (WSV News), and the Richland District Two YouTube channel