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Vail Health Funds STEM Programming in Eagle County Schools

Emily Tamberino

Eagle, CO – Eagle County Schools recently announced that it has received a donation from Vail Health in the amount of $45,000 in support of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) courses at Eagle Valley High School, Gypsum Creek Middle School, and Red Sandstone, Red Hill, Gypsum and Edwards Elementary schools. Vail Health’s support encourages students to expand their knowledge in STEM courses to better prepare them for a future global economy that will need more science, technology and engineering professionals.

“The grant by Vail Health supports Project Lead the Way, which provides turn-key STEM units for our students,” explained Assistant Superintendent Philip Qualman.

As an example, Eagle Valley High School is offering courses in the Biomedical Sciences strand. This year, 60 students are in the first-year course, and next year this will grow to 100 students with the addition of the second-year course. 

Gypsum Creek offers two Project Lead the Way courses, and the participating elementary schools each offer introductory units.

“The partnership with Vail Health cannot be understated,” said Eagle Valley High School Principal Greg Doan. “Top-quality STEM courses are expensive because of the specialized equipment and supplies necessary to give students real-world experience. We couldn’t do it without Vail Health.”

Last year, Vail Health sponsored a health and science classroom in the new H2 building at Eagle Valley High School (EVHS). With a commitment to advancing health science education and supporting the local school district, Vail Health purchased $50,000 worth of equipment for the classroom.  

“Vail Health has a longstanding history of supporting Eagle County Schools, and we are especially interested in enhancing the STEM curriculum for local students,” said Vail Health’s President and CEO Will Cook. “By providing access to interesting and relevant resources, we hope students will be inspired to pursue STEM pathways beyond high school. Our goal is to spark in students the same interest and passion our employees have in the dynamic field of health care.”

Project Lead the Way is a program that connects the private sector with public schools to help clearly define academic and career pathways for students. The goal is to help students understand that education is not just something they have to do, but it is an avenue to employment in adulthood that simultaneously prepares them for personal success and happiness in a diverse world.

Eagle County Schools is working toward building out local internships, apprenticeships, and job shadowing opportunities to help students get real-world experience during high school and graduate prepared to enter many careers that exist in our valley. From nurse’s aides to the culinary arts to auto repair, more and more pathways exist for the students of Eagle County Schools.