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STEM News Roundup: The Best STEM High Schools in the U.S.

U.S. News and World Report brings us an all new ranking of the best high schools in the United States for STEM learning. The top ten schools represent regions from across the nation. The rankings factored in a school's graduation rates and STEM Achievement Index, which is "based on the percentage of all the AP test-takers in a school's 2015 graduating class who took and passed college-level AP STEM Math and AP STEM Science tests."

"U.S. News & World Report's Best High Schools for STEM rankings methodology is based on the key principle that students at these schools must participate in and pass a robust curriculum of college-level math and science courses." The rankings also include a comprehensive outline of each school's curriculum offerings.

In at number one is the High Technology High School in Lincroft, New Jersey. The school had an overall graduation rate of 98 percent, which is one percent less than the number two school Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia. The reason High Technology earned the number one spot is due to its 99.8 percent STEM index rating, which is 3.5 percent more than that of Thomas Jefferson.

Check out the full list of the 250 best STEM High Schools in the United States.

New Report Reveals that Future K12 Achievement Can Be Predicted from Preschool Math

Math is continuing to prove itself as a very important predictor in future achievement. Findings from New America and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop suggest that "[p]reschool math performance predicts future academic achievement more consistently than reading or attention skills."

Researchers believe that taking STEM courses early in life promotes "executive function." Simply put, children who develop executive function skills are able to make more sound predictions based on observations.

Although there are barriers to implementing an early education STEM program, it does appear that a number of preschools are beginning to try to find ways to incorporate STEM into their curriculum.

Read more about the findings.

The VR Learning Experience Continues to Smash Textbooks

It shouldn't come as a surprise to administrators, educators and even parents, that textbooks are becoming less and less relevant. The integration of VR (virtual reality) devices in the classroom has made it easy to learn in a way that will keep students engaged and excited.

"Virtual reality is a super exciting thing to bring into the classroom but, what we do that’s different, is combining that with a global connection," said Founder of PenPal Schools Joe Troyen as he explained the reasoning behind the partnership with District’s Deerpark Middle School. "Kids are actually able to go through these reality field trips together with their pen pals from around the world."

VR devices create an environment that is completely immersive and make students feel as if they are being led on an education journey. 

Learn more about the PenPal organization's VR partnerships here.

Compiled by Navindra Persaud, Education World Contributor.

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