It's one thing to preach the need for more science, technology, engineering and math instruction in public schools to better prepare our students.

It's quite another to actually see the STEM philosophy in action as our Region schools embrace it and evolve to better prepare students for college and/or careers.

We're seeing it in spades at Hobart Middle School, which began offering a course this fall titled Computer Science for Innovators and Makers.

The course is part of a greater effort throughout Northwest Indiana and our nation to enrich computer science and technological instruction in classrooms.

The Hobart Middle School course specifically is teaching students computer programming and coding, valuable skills to meet the demands of an evolving future job market.

We're seeing rich examples of other Region schools preparing students for brighter futures, as well.

21st Century Charter High School in Gary, founded to offer an education alternative to students in a struggling community, is showing its own innovation.

A dual-credit program, initiated in 2005 when the school opened, is helping more and more students complete college credit at the high school level.

It's literally built into the curriculum there. Three college credit hours are required to graduate from 21st Century Charter. In the past four years, most 21st Century students graduated with an average of 13 college credits, according to the school. In 2017, six associate's degrees were awarded to graduates there, and one ambitious student even earned her bachelor's degree and high school diploma at the same time because of the dual credit program.

We know other examples of achievement and innovation abound throughout many stellar Northwest Indiana school districts.

At Valparaiso University, the new Center for the Sciences is part of an eventual STEM village, with future buildings planned someday.

STEM careers tend to pay quite well, and will continue to be the source of future breakthroughs that can improve lives, so of course schools need to prepare students for those fields.

It's an encouraging sign that Region educators, parents and students are willing to take necessary steps for future success.

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