WESTBROOK — Students who went “above and beyond” in math or science will receive specially endorsed diplomas starting with this year’s graduates.

Westbrook High School. Chance Viles / American Journal

The STEM endorsement will grace the diplomas of students who took more than the required classes in science, technology, engineering or math. It will recognize students for their hard work, said Amy Troiano, science department leader at Westbrook High School.

“It will help them set goals and it will increase interest in these pathways,” Troiano said.

STEM criteria includes four credits earned in lab science courses with no grades lower than an 80, four credits in math with no grades below 80, three additional credits earned in science or math with a grade of 80 or above and completion of 60 hours of approved extended learning opportunities, like internships or being a part of the math team.

Typically, only three credits of each category is needed, so the STEM diploma essentially requires an additional year of STEM courses on top of the other requirements. While the certification will focus on recognition, it may also help students stand out when applying to colleges or jobs, “especially if they are pursuing careers in these fields,” Superintendent Peter Lancia said.

Current students will be required to earn fewer extended learning hours because the program rolled out later in their high school career.

A range of classes apply to the program so there are numerous pathways for the endorsement. Classes range from chemistry or physical sciences to vocational classes like medical occupations tech, electricity or automotive tech and even criminal justice.

“I have to commend Amy for getting this off the ground and running. It is designed in a way that it is accessible for all cross-sections of our student body, which is really important,” Co-principal Jeff Guerette said.

Students who receive the STEM endorsement will have it on their transcripts and diplomas and will have a special marker on their regalia at graduation.

“We have a lot of students who work really hard in these fields, and it’s great to be able to recognize that,” Lancia said.

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