MANDATA — The Line Mountain Middle-High School hired a technology coordinator this week as part of the district’s plan to expand its STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) programming.
Seven board members at a special public meeting on Monday unanimously approved Lauren Coker for the position at a salary of $48,500, effective July 1. The board also approved Coker as a STEAM/STEM coordinator to do program implementation and curriculum writing at a stipend of $8,000.
“Lauren Coker is currently teaching at Cinnaminson High School in New Jersey,” said Superintendent Dave Campbell. “She is a 2018 graduate of Millersville University. She comes with incredible credentials and will be an amazing asset to our building of our STEAM and STEM programs.”
In February, the district announced it was investing an estimated $1 million in COVID-19 relief funding to expand its STEM programming. The district is using part of its allocation from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund to bring the project to fruition.
As the Line Mountain 5-12 STEM coordinator, Coker would design the implementation of the district’s STEAM program for grades five through eight as well as redesign new and proposed courses with a curriculum that aligns with the Standards of Technological Literacy of 2021, Pennsylvania Technology and Engineering Standards, according to the coordinator position description on the board’s agenda.
She would advise the Technology Student Association, which is a national student organization created to develop skills, technology, engineering and mathematics as well as business education. TSA aims to develop leadership as well as academics and business management skills in the workplace among students and leaders within the community, according to the description.
She would also develop a district-wide event that encourages students to tap into their innate abilities to identify problems and create meaningful solutions. Using the invention process, students will devise, document and present their inventions to community members, educators and industry professionals. She would also facilitate experiences designed to develop an innovative mindset and prepare them to address global challenges in a rapidly changing world, according to the description.
In February, technology education instructors Jared Haas and Joe Kahl, along with about a dozen students, presented their plan to the school board, outlining the location and equipment needed to introduce additional technology education courses, the renovations necessary to turn the existing space at the high school into a lab and the need for a third faculty member in the department — the last of which came to fruition on Monday.
The equipment costs are estimated to be around $400,000 while the renovations are estimated to be around $600,000, school officials said.
At that February meeting, board members were highly supportive.
“We’ll be a leader in our area,” said Board President Dennis Erdman in February. “We’re going to outpace the other school districts in our area. We’ll be sending very well-prepared students out into the world.”
The goal is to have the classroom up and running by the 2023-24 school year, Haas and Kahl said previously.