School Views: Focusing on STEM with Vail Health’s help

Philip Qualman
School Views

Eagle County School District is incredibly fortunate to work closely with local organizations and have developed wonderful relationships throughout our valley. We appreciate everyone in our community who supports us in educating our youth. It truly takes a village to produce well-rounded young people who are ready for the next stage of their lives after high school graduation.

This week on Tuesday, Nov. 8, we recognized National STEM Day, a holiday that aims to encourage students of all grades to explore and pursue their interests in science, technology, engineering and math in fun and engaging ways.

Year after year we’ve received funding from Vail Health in support of our STEM programming. This year saw a $45,000 donation awarded to the district to fund various programs in our schools. Vail Health continues to be a long-standing partner in our community and we have been fortunate to work collaboratively with them over the years. Thank you, Vail Health, for your continued partnership.

In schools across the district, we see these funds going toward Project Lead the Way programming. Project Lead the Way is an organization that provides transformative learning experiences for PreK-12 students and teachers across the United States by creating hands-on classroom lessons that empower students to develop in-demand job knowledge and skills they need to succeed.

A couple of our schools have been recognized for their accomplishments with PLTW. Edwards Elementary School and Red Sandstone Elementary School have both held the honor of being Distinguished Schools in the Project Lead the Way program.

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Eagle Valley High School has continued its PLTW Engineering Program, and other schools have also exercised various hands-on STEM lessons. Eagle Valley Middle School recently taught a lesson in which eighth graders built rollercoaster models to simulate Newton’s Law of Motion. At the elementary level, Edwards has worked on various projects from animal adaptations to decide “which beak is better” to making casts for a fellow classmate exploring the relationship between structure and function in the human body.

As we enter the season of gratitude, I am reminded how fortunate we are to live in Eagle County. It’s easy to look around and appreciate some of the things that make us unique. From beautiful mountain vistas to hobbies for every season, we’re lucky to call it home. But it is the supportive community that I cherish the most. Partnerships like these highlight what sets us apart. So from myself and all of the Eagle County School District staff, I would like to extend gratitude to Vail Health for its continued support and to all of the partners we work with to ensure an amazing learning experience for our local youth.

Philip Qualman is the superintendent of Eagle County School District. Email him at

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