Follow us:

Education Lab Blog

Education Lab is a yearlong project to spark meaningful conversations about education solutions in the Pacific Northwest.

June 14, 2014 at 9:29 PM

Sunday story: STEM focus pays off in soaring graduation rate at Toppenish High School

Maria Vargas, a senior, left, and Elizabeth Mendoza, a junior, examine body digestive organs while practicing for a science night project at Toppenish High School, located about 30 minutes south of Yakima. Photo by Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times.

Maria Vargas, a senior, left, and Elizabeth Mendoza, a junior, examine body digestive organs while practicing for a science night project at Toppenish High School, located about 30 minutes south of Yakima. Photo by Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times.

Staring into a bin filled with cow eyeballs, high-school principal Trevor Greene felt the twitch of an idea.

He’d been touring the slaughterhouse across the road from Toppenish High with students from an agriculture class when it occurred to him that science teachers at his high-poverty school might be able to use the leftover body parts — hearts, pancreases, joints — for their new biomedical courses.

At the time, in 2011, Toppenish in Yakima County was in the midst of a five-year overhaul, transforming itself from a dropout factory, where only 19 percent of students passed state algebra exams, into a regional model for science and technology education.

Today, most of the school’s 830 students — all of them low-income — have taken courses in engineering, biomedical science or aerospace. Enrollment in advanced math has tripled. And the four-year graduation rate is 94 percent — a figure enviable even among the state’s most privileged districts.

Go here to read the full story.

Comments | More in News | Topics: STEM, Toppenish High School

COMMENTS

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.



The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►