The STEM Academy immerses students in science, technology, engineering and medicine with pathways focusing on programming and software development, computer networking, engineering, aviation and pre-medical fields. View detailed descriptions for courses offered in the STEM Academy below.

The STEM Academy logo for the ISD Academies
A chart shows all pathways and courses offered in the STEM Academy as part of the ISD Academies

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STEM Academy Course Descriptions:

Aerospace Engineering (1 credit PAR, Gr. 10-12, weighted)
Course Number: 8116

Prerequisite: Introduction to Engineering Design

This course propels students’ learning in the fundamentals of atmospheric and space flight. As they explore the physics of flight, students bring the concepts to life by designing an airfoil, propulsion system, and rockets. They learn basic orbital mechanics using industry-standard software. Students also explore robot systems through projects such as remotely operated vehicles.

Allied Health – 4 credits (3 credits PAR and 1 credit MTH or SCI, Gr. 11-12) Course Number: 8613

Prerequisite: Minimum 2.5 GPA; 90% attendance; a grade of C or better in Algebra I and a grade of C or better in Biology or Chemistry

This program at Summit Technology Academy is for students interested in learning more about Allied Health careers or who would like to enter college healthcare programs after graduation. Students will be engaged in hands-on skills, lab work, and projects related to dental assisting; health information technology; occupational therapy/occupational therapy assistant; paramedic/EMT; physical therapy/physical therapy assistant; radiologic technology and respiratory care, surgical technology, nursing, polysomnography, chiropractic, athletic training, laboratory, pharmacy, and other allied health careers. This program allows internship and shadowing opportunities in allied health career fields. In addition, students will have opportunities to gain industry credentials such as Basic Lifesaver CPR training and HIPAA credentials. Students will have to provide transportation periodically in order to accommodate outside lab experiences and internships.

Aviation (2 credits PAR, Gr. 12, weighted) College Credit Available, Course Number: 8820

Prerequisite: Aerospace Engineering

This course, offered through the Blue Springs School District, is a year-long program that includes private pilot ground school, aeronautics, remotely piloted aircraft basics/drones, and principles of helicopter flight. Fees are associated with this program for materials.

Biomechanics Capstone (1-2 credits ELE, Gr. 12) Course Number: 8625

Prerequisite:  Biomechanics of Sport

This capstone is a project that allows students to learn about themselves by moving an idea or dream toward a topic of interest, specialization, community need, or career choice. As part of this course, all students must complete a capstone experience which may include, but is not limited to: senior project, virtual enterprise, internship, externship, work-based learning, service learning, community service, etc. This course can be taken as either one or two credits, depending on the chosen project. In the spring semester of the student’s junior year, the student will develop a capstone proposal for approval.

Biomechanics of Sport (1 credit ELE, Gr. 11-12) Course Number: 8624

Prerequisite: Human Body Systems

This course will cover all aspects of assessment, application, and advanced sports medicine techniques and topics. Students who enter should have a basic understanding of anatomy and movement as it relates to the human body and its function in sport.

Biomedical Innovations (1 credit SCI, Gr. 12, weighted)
Course Number: 8607

Prerequisite: Medical Interventions

In the final course of the PLTW Biomedical Science sequence, students build on the knowledge and skills gained from previous courses to design innovative solutions for the most pressing health challenges of the 21st century. Students address topics ranging from public health and biomedical engineering to clinical medicine and physiology. Students will have the opportunity to work on an independent design project with a mentor or advisor from a university, medical facility, or research institution.

Cisco CCNA (4 credits PAR, Gr. 12, weighted) College Credit Available, Course Number: 8177

Prerequisite: Information Technology Essentials or Network Security

This course provides a comprehensive, theoretical, and practical approach to learning the technologies and protocols needed to design, implement, and secure enterprise and wide area networks. Students completing CCNA will be able to configure and troubleshoot inter-VLAN routing, VLANs, WLANs as well as wide area networking technologies. In this course, students will develop comprehensive networking concepts and applied skills, from network applications to the protocols and services provided to those applications while progressing from basic networking to more complex enterprise and theoretical networking models in preparation for the Cisco Certified Network Associate industry certification.

Civil Engineering and Architecture (1 credit PAR, Gr. 10-12, weighted)
Course Number: 8110

Prerequisite: Introduction to Engineering Design

The major focus of this course is completing long-term projects that involve the development of property sites. As students learn about various aspects of civil engineering and architecture, they apply what they learn to the design and development of a property. The course provides teachers and students freedom to develop the property as a simulation or to students to model the experiences that civil engineers and architects face. Students work in teams, exploring hands on activities and projects to learn the characteristics of civil engineering and architecture. In addition, students use 3-D design software to help them design solutions to solve major course projects. Students learn about documenting their project, solving problems, and communicating their solutions to their peers and members of the professional community of civil engineering and architecture.

Computer Integrated Manufacturing (1 credit PAR, Gr. 10-12, weighted) Course Number: 8119

Prerequisite: Introduction to Engineering Design

Manufactured items are part of everyday life, yet most students have not been introduced to the high-tech, innovative nature of modern manufacturing. This course illuminates the opportunities related to understanding manufacturing. At the same time, it teaches students about manufacturing processes, product design, robotics, and automation. Students can earn a virtual manufacturing badge recognized by the National Manufacturing Badge System.

Computer Science Applications (1 credit PAR, Gr. 11-12, weighted)
Course Number: 8174

Prerequisite: Computer Science Principles

This course focuses on further developing computational-thinking skills through the medium of Android™ App development for mobile platforms. The course utilizes industry-standard tools such as Android Studio, Java™ programming language, XML, and device emulators. Students collaborate to create original solutions to problems of their own choosing by designing and implementing user interfaces and Web-based databases. This course aligns with the AP CSA course.

Computer Science Essentials (1 credit PAR, Gr. 9-12, weighted)
Course Number: 8182

Designed to be the first computer science course for students who have never programmed before, this course is an optional starting point for the PLTW Computer Science program. Students will work in teams to create apps for mobile devices using MIT App Inventor®. They explore the impact of computing in society and build skills in digital citizenship and cybersecurity. Beyond learning the fundamentals of programming, students build computational-thinking skills by applying computer science to collaboration tools, modeling and simulation, and data analysis. In addition, students transfer the understanding of programming gained in App Inventor to text-based programming in Python® and apply their knowledge to create algorithms for games of chance and strategy.

Computer Science Principles (1 credit PAR, Gr. 10-12, weighted)
Course Number: 8172

Prerequisite: Computer Science Essentials

Using Python® as a primary tool and incorporating multiple platforms and languages for computation, this course aims to develop computational thinking, generate excitement about career paths that utilize computing, and introduce professional tools that foster creativity and collaboration. This course will help students develop programming expertise and explore the workings of the Internet. Projects and problems include app development, visualization of data, cybersecurity, and simulation. 

Digital Electronics (1 credit PAR, Gr. 10-12, weighted)
Course Number: 8106

Prerequisite: Introduction to Engineering Design

This course is designed so that students gain skills in basic electronics, logical thinking, problem solving, and electronic troubleshooting. Students will seek answers to questions such as how do robots make decisions, how does a calculator work, and what does an electrical engineer do? By gaining a basic understanding of digital electronics in high school, a student gains a head start on an engineering career—no matter what field. Digital Electronics is a course in applied logic that encompasses the application of electronic circuits and devices. Computer simulation software is used to design and test digital circuitry prior to the actual construction of circuits and devices.

Design Thinking (1-2 credits ELE, Gr. 12) Course Number: 5126

Prerequisite: Approved Capstone Project

This capstone is a project that allows students to learn about themselves by moving an idea or dream toward a topic of interest, specialization, community need, or career choice. As part of this course, all students must complete a capstone experience which may include, but is not limited to: senior project, virtual enterprise, internship, externship, work-based learning, service learning, community service, etc.

Engineering Capstone (1 credit PAR, Gr. 12) Course Number: 8120

Prerequisite: Must be concurrently enrolled in this course and Engineering Design and Development. Must be able to provide own transportation to internship assignment. Students will be required to attend to their internship site’s employee dress code. 

This is an internship to accompany the Engineering Design and Development course. Students will be placed in engineering centered internships as a major part of their development into the engineering pathway.

Engineering Design and Development (1 credit PAR, Gr. 12, weighted) 
Course Number: 8112

Prerequisite: Principles of Engineering or Computer Science Applications

This is an engineering research course in which students will work in teams to research, design, and test and construct a solution to an open ended engineering problem. The product development life cycle and a design process are used to guide and help the team to research a solution to the problem. The team presents and defends their solution to panel of outside reviewers at the conclusion of the course.

Foundations of Nursing I – 4 credits (3 credits PAR and 1 credit SCI, Gr. 11-12) Course Number: 8514

Prerequisite: Minimum 2.0 GPA; 90% attendance; grade of C or better in Biology; reading, writing, and math at minimum 10th grade level

Recommended: Introduction to Health Services, Chemistry, and Psychology.

This program at Herndon Career Center is designed for students to explore a career in nursing and related health careers. Students will participate in both classroom and hands on/clinical experiences. Classroom instruction includes anatomy, physiology, medical terminology and entry level nursing topics. Classroom instruction also includes American Heart Association CPR and First Aid certification. Students will learn and practice clinical skills in a controlled simulation lab. Students will then spend 100 hours at various long-term care facilities perfecting their clinical skills. Students will have opportunities to observe other health care professionals. Students who complete the program will have met the requirements to take the final examination to become a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA).

The student must provide his/her own transportation to the clinical sites. A background check will be required for clinical experiences. Uniforms will be required for clinical experiences, paid directly by the student to the uniform company. Student contribution to course expenses could be up to $240 (for registration, equipment, etc.).

Foundations of Nursing II – 4 credits (3 credits PAR and 1 credit SCI, Gr. 12) Course Number: 8529

Prerequisite: Foundations of Nursing I

This second level course in the nursing program at Herndon Career Center includes both classroom and hands on/clinical experiences. The course builds upon content and experiences from Foundations of Nursing I. Students who complete the program will have met the requirements to take the final examination to become a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA).

The student must provide his/her own transportation to the clinical sites. A background check will be required for clinical experiences. Uniforms will be required for clinical experiences, paid directly by the student to the uniform company. Student contribution to course expenses could be up to $240 (for registration, equipment, etc.)

Human Body Systems (1 credit SCI, Gr. 10-12, weighted)
Course Number: 8712

Prerequisite: Principles of Biomedical Science

In this course, students examine the interactions of human body systems as they explore identity, power, movement, protection, and homeostasis. Exploring science in action, students build organs and tissues on a skeletal Maniken®; use data acquisition software to monitor body functions such as muscle movement, reflex and voluntary action, and respiration; and take on the roles of biomedical professionals to solve real-world medical cases.

Information Technology Essentials (2 credits PAR, Gr. 11-12, weighted) College Credit Available, Course Number: 3200

Prerequisite: Computer Science Principles

This course provides a comprehensive overview of computer fundamentals and an introduction to advanced concepts. It is intended for individuals who want to pursue careers in IT and gain practical knowledge of how a computer works. This portion of the course provides an excellent introduction to the IT industry and interactive exposure to personal computers, hardware, and operating systems. Students participate in hands-on activities and lab-based learning to become familiar with various hardware and software components and discover best practices in maintenance and safety. Students who complete IT Essentials will be able to describe the internal components of a computer, assemble a computer system, install an operating system, and troubleshoot using system tools and diagnostic software. They will also be able to connect computers to the Internet and share resources in a networked environment.

Internship in STEM Careers – Cerner Scholars (2 credits PAR, Gr. 12) Course Number: 8621

Cerner is a leading company in the Kansas City area that provides health information solutions to improve the well-being of individuals and communities. Cerner creates leading-edge health information technology through strategies that empower organizations to know, manage and engage their populations. The Cerner Scholars program at Summit Technology Academy provides students with an opportunity to gain a deeper learning experience related to their interest in computing and technology. 

Introduction to Engineering Design (1 credit PAR, Gr. 9-12, weighted) Course Number: 8100

This course is for students interested in engineering and architecture related fields. Units of study include sketching, multi-views, pictorial and 3-D drawing, sections, dimensions, auxiliary and architectural drawing. Students will be expected to use 2-D and 3-D CAD software to solve problems and present designs. Technical reading and math skills are needed. This course is the first course in the PLTW program. PLTW is a nationally recognized engineering curriculum being offered through the Independence School District. For more information regarding PLTW go to www.pltw.org.

Introduction to Health Services (0.5 credit PAR, Gr. 9-11) 
Course Number: 5500

The purpose of the course is to provide students with a realistic exposure to health careers and a look at the educational requirements for various healthcare related professions. This course will provide experiences in nursing, the role of the physician, careers in rehabilitation, respiratory therapy, emergency medical services, diagnostic imaging, medical laboratory technology, health information technology, dietetics, and biomedical engineering.

Introduction to Physical Therapy – Online Dual Credit  (0.5 credit ELE, Gr. 11-12, weighted) College Credit, Course Number: 8623

Prerequisite: Human Body Systems

Student must have a minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA.

This course is an introduction to physical therapy and the role of a physical therapist assistant, including function of the PTA and of the health care team, history of medical care and physical therapy, legal and ethical standards, culturally sensitive care and communication.

Medical Interventions (1 credit SCI, Gr. 11-12, weighted)
Course Number: 8604

Prerequisite: Human Body Systems

In this course, students follow the life of a fictitious family as they investigate how to prevent, diagnose, and treat disease. Students explore how to detect and fight infection; screen and evaluate the code in human DNA; evaluate cancer treatment options; and prevail when the organs of the body begin to fail. Through real-world cases, students are exposed to a range of interventions related to immunology, surgery, genetics, pharmacology, medical devices, and diagnostics.

Medical Terminology (0.5 credit ELE, Gr. 9-12) Course Number: 8827

This course introduces elements of medical terminology, such as the etymology of words used to describe the human body. Students learn to apply proper terminology and spelling for major pathological conditions. This course identifies and explains the terms used for the integumentary, respiratory, nervous, reproductive, endocrine, urinary, digestive, lymphatic, hematic, immune, and musculoskeletal systems.

Network Security (2 credits PAR, Gr. 11-12) Course Number: 8609

Prerequisite: Computer Science Principles

This course provides students the opportunity to develop fundamental security management skills in preparation for entry-level IT career opportunities, including the CompTIA Network+, CompTIA Security+, TestOut Network Pro, and TestOut Security Pro industry certifications. Students completing this course will learn to manage hardware and software networking components including IP configuration, setting up secure wireless and wired networks, software updates, hardware upgrades and network protocols, as well as, implementing layered security through group policy objects, access control lists, and workstation/mobile device security measures.

Pre-Professional Nursing – 4 credits (3 credits PAR and 1 credit SCI, Gr. 12, weighted) College Credit Available, Course Number: 8601

Prerequisite: Minimum 2.5 GPA; 90% attendance; a grade of C or better in Algebra I, Biology, and Chemistry; reading and writing at minimum 10th grade level

This course at Summit Technology Academy is designed to prepare senior students, who have identified nursing as a clear career goal, for a collegiate registered nursing program. Students will learn through classroom instruction and practice in a clinical skills lab. Major units of study include nursing history and career exploration, pharmaceutical math, CPR/First Aid, nursing skills, and medical terminology. The course will introduce students to the nursing process, nursing documentation, effective communication skills, and medical ethics. Students will learn and use APA style in the production of a research paper. Dual college credit options are subject to change based on instructor qualifications and college requirements. Students must provide their own transportation for clinical experiences.

Principles of Biomedical Science (1 credit SCI, Gr. 9-12, weighted) Course Number: 8710

In the introductory course of the PLTW Biomedical Science program, students explore concepts of biology and medicine to determine factors that led to the death of a fictional person. While investigating the case, students examine autopsy reports, investigate medical history, and explore medical treatments that might have prolonged the person’s life. The activities and projects introduce students to human physiology, basic biology, medicine, and research processes while allowing them to design their own experiments to solve problems.

Principles of Engineering (1 credit PAR, Gr. 10-12, weighted)
Course Number: 8101

Prerequisite: Introduction to Engineering

Recommended Concurrent Course: Algebra II

This course explores the wide variety of careers in engineering, technology systems, and manufacturing processes. Using activities, projects and problems, students will learn first-hand how engineers and technicians use math, science and technology in an engineering problem-solving process to benefit people. PLTW is a nationally recognized engineering curriculum being offered through the Independence School District. For more information regarding PLTW go to www.pltw.org.

Student Tech Team (1 credit PAR, Gr. 11-12) Course Number: 3201

Course enrollment via interview only.

Prerequisite: Computer Science Principles and completion of, or concurrent enrollment in Computer Science Applications and/or Information Technology Essentials

This course, open to students in grades 11 and 12, is a hands on study of technology integration in an educational context. Students are required to assess problem sets throughout the day and define the best approach to addressing or solving the problem. In addition to solving problems for students and teachers, Student Tech Team members will be required to complete and maintain several running projects that address problems or solutions in educational technology integration. To enroll in the Student Tech Team course, students are required to interview with the Instructional Technology Specialist and/or course teacher. Interviews are held in late spring.

Unmanned Flight Safety & Operation (2 credits PAR, Gr. 12, weighted) College Credit Available, Course Number: 8826

Prerequisite: Aerospace Engineering

The drone market is exploding. This course will provide valuable learning experiences for anyone entering the utilities field, aviation, marketing, building maintenance, shipping, and many more careers. Course curriculum will be through the Unmanned Safety Institute, a premier instructional group for unmanned flight. This course follows Project Lead the Way’s Aerospace Engineering class and provides the opportunity to earn certification to fly a drone. 

Veterinary Capstone (2-4 credits PAR, Gr. 12) Course Number: 8630

Prerequisite: Medical Innovations

This course offers an exciting immersion into the veterinary field. Students complete Veterinary Program Management and Veterinary Terminology courses for dual credit at their home school along with an internship at an area animal shelter or clinic. Students learn veterinary terminology, professional ethics, animal care, breed characteristics, vaccinations and hospital management while working alongside industry professionals.

Veterinary Practice Management (.50 credit PAR, Gr. 11-12)
Course Number: 8629

 Orientation to career opportunities available in veterinary technology. Professional ethics, public relations, and psychological adjustments of students in terms of understanding the need for physical treatment, and care of animals.  Client relations, vaccination programs, regulatory organizations, receptionists duties, breeds and breed characteristics, neutering, puppy care, diets and hospital management.   

Veterinary Terminology (.50 credit PAR, Gr. 11-12) Course Number: 8628

Professional language of veterinary medicine. Analysis of veterinary medical terms by roots and combining forms.  Disease processes, anatomy, diagnostic and therapeutic procedures for each body system. Selected veterinary medical specialties.