Mercury Marine, Fond du Lac School District establish STEM charter school

Feb 22, 2012

Mercury Marine has partnered with the Fond du Lac School District to create a charter elementary school that emphasizes science, technology, engineering and math studies.

“We want to introduce children to science and technology at an early age when they are still naturally curious about how things work,” said Kevin Anderson, a Mercury Marine engineering fellow and the president of the Fond du Lac STEM Academy’s governance board. “We want to reach out to both boys and girls. Studies show that if girls aren’t involved in science by grade five, they almost never enter a science career later in life because those fields are so male dominated.”

The Fond du Lac STEM Academy, scheduled to open this fall to 100 third through fifth graders, will be financed with a $200,000 federal grant and by the Fond du Lac School District.

Students at the school will study a full range of subjects – from geography to English to music – with an emphasis on science and technology. Unlike a traditional classroom setting, students will learn from hands-on, project-based assignments.

Mercury Marine will offer technical expertise, technological resources and world-renowned engineering facilities at its headquarters to make class projects more interesting and engaging.

As examples, students may study sound frequencies and melodies for music class at Mercury’s sound laboratory or may study why a wasp’s eye is more advanced than an ant’s using Mercury’s $500,000 scanning electron microscope.

The school is currently accepting student applications through the end of April for the 2012-2013 school year. The academy is considered a public school and is tuition free.  Applications can be obtained and submitted at the Fond Du Lac school district offices (72 W. 9th Street, Fond du Lac).  If more than 100 students apply, the school will conduct a lottery.

The school’s seven-person governance board consists of Anderson; Denise Devereaux, vice president of human resources at Mercury Marine; Steve Peterson, President and CEO of Mid-States Aluminum; Terry Gaffney, an attorney at Sager & Colwin Law Offices; Josh Bullock, vice president of strategy at Moraine Park Technical College; Tammy Beaver, a teacher at Fond du Lac St. Mary’s Springs Academy; and Samuel Phillips, a high school senior.

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