EMS STEM School of the Year

Ephrata Middle School was recently awarded 2023-2024 Lancaster-Lebanon STEM School of the Year on behalf of the Lancaster County STEM Alliance and Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13 (IU13).

Specific criteria were reviewed among all applicants, including schools’ level of STEM integration, integrity of academic content, application of the engineering design process, embedded performance assessments, and connections to STEM careers. “This is truly an outstanding achievement for the dedication and commitment of Ephrata Middle School to STEM education,” stated Jason Zimmerman, IU13 STEM Teaching & Learning Consultant.

“From curriculum to instructional practices, we try to make sure that all Ephrata Middle School students participate in hands-on activities and projects to solve real-world problems and reinforce STEM concepts,” explained Dr. Peter Kishpaugh, EMS Principal. A variety of STEM-related classes are available to students, including Computer Science Applications, Computer Design and Animation, Coding, Robotics, and more. Additionally, all EMS students participate in interdisciplinary Cornerstone projects, which require students to collaborate and think critically about authentic problems and provide genuine solutions. Lastly, additional extracurricular STEM activities are also made available to EMS students.

Recent and ongoing STEM-related programs and achievements at Ephrata Middle School have included the NASA TechRise Challenge, What’s So Cool About Manufacturing contest, Mathematics Olympiad, Future Engineers Veterans Appreciation Challenge, You Be The Chemist Competition, and the Lancaster County Envirothon. Students in grades 6-7 are also currently involved in a design challenge to create a school courtyard complete with an outdoor learning zone and eating area.

Partnerships with local businesses and community organizations also help to provide real-world STEM perspectives and authentic resources for students and staff. “We value connections between school, industry, and family and know these collaborations enrich our STEM programming and provide students with a broader perspective on the importance and possibilities of STEM career opportunities,” shared Dr. Kishpaugh.

Ephrata Middle School staff was formally recognized at the STEM Awards Banquet on Monday, May 20 at the Lancaster Science Factory.

Pictured left to right: EMS Assistant Principal Russ Garman, EMS Principal Dr. Peter Kishpaugh, EMS Gifted Teacher Adam Zeni, EMS STEAM Teacher Patricia Reichl, EMS STEAM Teacher Joshua Falk, EMS Science Teacher Jennifer Trout, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Richard Hornberger, Superintendent Dr. Brian Troop, EMS Science Teacher Joshua Haupt.