RIDGELAND – St. Andrew’s Episcopal School has been named one of Newsweek’s Top 500 STEM High Schools in America. Newsweek, with its long history of reporting on scientific breakthroughs, technological revolutions and societal challenges, partnered with STEM.org to rank America’s best STEM high schools. Their findings highlighted the schools throughout the country that offer challenging curricula taught by skilled teachers who keep up with current developments and trends in their fields of study and create dynamic learning environments that engage their students. The announcement was made to coincide with National STEM Day, November 8.

St. Andrew’s science department has a long history of creating leaders in STEM fields thanks to faculty who create a robust curriculum that is not only engaging, but also sparks a lifelong passion in students to explore their interests.

“Alumni of St. Andrew’s can easily remember a moment when science became captivating because of a teacher, whether that moment was learning about ecological relationships in coral reefs through interacting with sea stars in 4th grade, or seeing the rings of Saturn for the first time at the Speer Lyell Observatory in 12th grade astronomy,” said Marks McWhorter ‘06, chair of the St. Andrew’s science department. “This fascination to learn about our natural world within the St. Andrew’s community bolsters our tools as teachers as we educate the scientific leaders of tomorrow.”

In keeping with its tradition of strong academics and in the continuum of leading innovation, St. Andrew’s was the first to require summer reading, the first to have a community service requirement for graduation, the first to have a Cum Laude chapter, the first to have an Honor Code for students on the high school level, the first in Mississippi to have AP classes, the first to field soccer and lacrosse teams, and the first to have a one-to-one laptop program.

STEM is not a new concept to St. Andrew’s faculty and students. Students take courses such as Physics, Biotechnology, Zoology, and Astronomy. Thanks to a partnership with the Malone Schools Online Network, St. Andrew’s is able to offer advanced math and science courses not found at any other high school in Mississippi, such as Data Structure and Design Patterns, Multivariable Calculus, Genetics and Genomics, and Quantum Mechanics.

By offering these varied and advanced courses, St. Andrew’s continues its long tradition of strong academics and innovation. St. Andrew’s was the first school in Mississippi to have a community service requirement for graduation, a one-to-one laptop program, a Cum Laude chapter, an Honor Code for students on the high school level, an on-campus observatory, as well as the first to offer AP and world languages classes and to field soccer and lacrosse teams.

“Innovation is a journey,” said Head of School Tom Sheppard. “It’s an expression of what St. Andrew’s has been doing for 71 years. We’ve been moving forward. We’ve been assessing what we do and always ensuring that a St. Andrew’s education prepares students for the next stage in their life.”

Among the school’s recent innovations is a movement known as i2: Inspire and Innovate. At the forefront of this movement is the redesign of three classrooms that capitalize on technological advances as resources for teaching and learning.

Because St. Andrew’s continuously elevates teaching and learning on both of its campuses, it is the school best equipped to prepare students for the ever-changing world they will graduate into.