Photos of students and teachers

2008 Innovation in Education Award Finalist

Tom Ressler

Award: Innovative School Program
Capistrano Valley High School (Academy of Technology, Math, and Science)
Capistrano Unified School

“(ATMS is) about preparing students to develop the technologies that don’t even exist today and to use them wisely, ethically, and effectively in solving the problems of tomorrow.”  Tom Ressler, principal

Program Description

With Mr. Ressler’s help and support, the Academy of Technology, Math, and Science was created at Capistrano Valley High School in 1995 as a rigorous program that allows students to accelerate and extend their education in math, science, and technology. ATMS students are consistently provided the greatest access to technology the district has to offer.

ATMS has worked to create partnerships that extend beyond the classroom to push students to their limits. The Nortel Institute has provided CBL probes to ATMS science classes, while the AP Statistics course is supported by Texas Instruments’ Nspire handheld devices for data exploration. The National Park Foundation also partners with ATMS for the Adopt-A-Raven-Transect Program, which enables students to collect data on the raven population of Joshua Tree National Monument and transmit it to Park Services statisticians.

The Academy takes on the role of a “school within a school,” with likeminded students working together over many subject areas, forming healthy friendships that prove to be especially beneficial for incoming freshman making the difficult transition from Middle School to High School. This format also serves to keep high achieving students in a math – science course of study, retaining those who might otherwise be sidetracked by the distractions of a typical high school experience.

Since the first graduating class in 1999, ATMS students have been accepted to such universities as MIT, Cal Tech, Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Stanford, UC Berkeley, and UCLA, and have gone on to successful STEM careers.

What is the role of K-12 education in driving Orange County’s economic competitiveness?

Education should foster true scholarship through exploration and inquiry so that students develop critical thinking skills. This foundation will allow them to develop new technologies and use them wisely, ethically, and effectively in solving the problems of tomorrow.

How can business and community members support your efforts?

check mark Arrange a student field trip at your workplace.
check mark Arrange a teacher field trip at your workplace.
check mark Help underwrite our science, math, or technology programs.
  Participate in a virtual career panel at our school.
check mark Provide college scholarships to our students
  Provide guest speakers at our school.
check mark Provide internships to our students.
check mark Provide scholarships for teachers to attend STEM-related conferences.
  Provide summer job opportunities to our teaching staff to help them understand workplace requirements.
  Sponsor a robotics team at our school.
  Volunteer as a STEM mentor to our students.
  Volunteer as a STEM mentor to our teachers.
  Volunteer to help with our Science Fair or Science Olympiad.
check mark Work with our teachers to integrate "real-world" skills into their classroom curriculum.


© 2011 Project Tomorrow®