Vancouver Public Schools is one of 30 districts nationwide and one of just three Washington state districts to receive District Administration magazine’s November 2015 District of Distinction award. VPS was honored for Vancouver iTech Preparatory, a school focused on science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM.

Vancouver iTech Preparatory serves grades six through 12 on two campuses, one at the Jim Parsley Education, Family and Community Center and one co-located on the Washington State University Vancouver campus. With a focus on STEM and a liberal arts component, iTech uses project-, problem- and practice-based learning to encourage inquiry, critical analysis and innovation. While enrolled at iTech, students have individual laptops and early access to college courses, earning one to two years’ worth of college credits by the time they graduate.

“While we prepare students for college and careers in STEM fields, we also must create an atmosphere where students can learn with passion, creativity and the belief that they are free to challenge their own limitless potential,” said Principal Christina Iremonger. “Only then have we met our goals as educators.”

Since the school opened in 2012, iTech Prep has posted test scores that exceed state averages on math and biology end-of-course exams and sophomore reading and writing tests. Forecasted Smarter Balanced Assessment scores for the 2014-15 school year point toward iTech Prep once again surpassing averages.

Said Superintendent Steven Webb, “I am impressed by what iTech has accomplished in just a few years. This is a school that prepares its students for college, careers and life, including myriad post-secondary opportunities in STEM and other fields. Vancouver Public Schools is fortunate to have such talented iTech students, staff members and administrators in our district. We’re also grateful for the ongoing support of our board; parents; the Vancouver community; and our partners, particularly Washington State University Vancouver. This award is a positive reflection on everyone’s contributions.”

This is Vancouver Public Schools’ second District of Distinction award, which honors K-12 organizations for initiatives that benefit students and lead the way for other districts to follow. It received an award in 2014 for its Family-Community Resource Centers.