LIMESTONE, Maine — The executive director of the Maine School of Science and Mathematics was selected earlier this month to serve on a national panel that supports and promotes similar schools across the United States.
Luke Shorty, a graduate of the school who has been at the helm for a little more than a year,
was selected for the panel by his peers during the Nov. 15-19 convention for the National Association for Gifted Children in Denver. As a member of the National Consortium of Specialized Secondary Schools in Math, Science, and Technologies, Shorty will help the board assist and promote other schools that are preparing students for leadership in science, technology, and mathematics.
“I was very happy to have been selected,” he said Tuesday afternoon. “The school has been members of the.[consortium] since it first opened. The board does a lot in terms of policy making and academic programming. I am looking forward to upcoming meetings.”
The board consists of specialized STEM schools from across the country and is made up of a mix of STEM school models, including residential STEM schools such as MSSM.
The Limestone school opened in 1995 and caters to students in grades 10 through 12 from more than 80 Maine communities. A handful of the 107 students are from out of state. The majority of students live in residence halls on campus.
Shorty said he is looking forward to working with sister schools and identifying the steps necessary to create a good STEM school.
“There are a number of ways that schools across the nation are doing that,” he said Tuesday. “Here at MSSM, we are a residential facility, and students live and learn here. But there are other STEM schools that are not like us. Sometimes they are schools within a school, where certain students are separated to explore advanced classes and instructions.”
Shorty said he believes that his voice on the board will bring better exposure to MSSM as a whole. He also noted that the school has forged partnerships with colleges and universities that could help MSSM students pursue higher education in Maine.
Last year, the school and the University of Maine at Presque Isle signed an agreement that allows secondary education majors at UMPI to work yearlong internships at the magnet school.
Shorty said several students from MSSM discarded plans to attend college out of state once they learned more about the Maine Tidal Power Initiative through the University of Maine.
Shorty said Tuesday that the consortium board holds quarterly meetings, with two meetings conducted via teleconferencing.
The Maine School of Science and Mathematics is a tuition-free, public, residential high school that enrolls students from across the state and serves more than 500 students each year through its academic and summer offerings. In 2012, U.S.News and World Report ranked the school the 38th-best high school out of nearly 22,000 public high schools nationwide, and the ninth-best magnet school.