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Waste Management Donates $225,000 for New Lake Washington School District Signature Programs

LeeAnn Wood, Executive Director Lake Washington Schools Foundation, 425-936-1317,

Kathryn Reith, Director of Communications, Lake Washington School District, 425-936-1342,  


​Redmond, Wash., September 7  -  The Lake Washington Schools Foundation is pleased to announce that Waste Management has awarded the Foundation $225,000 for new signature programs in the Lake Washington School District. Signature programs are a new approach to interdisciplinary learning designed to inspire and prepare high school students for college and careers.  Signature programs focus on both academic content knowledge and the interdisciplinary skills and attributes required for students to be future ready, the district’s vision. 

The award will be used to fund signature STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) programs for high school students to debut in the 2013-14 school year. Signature programs will consist of a three-course block of two core subjects and one elective, taught by a team of three teachers. The program’s design allows for a versatile, open-ended environment for students to engage in research and projects that focus on finding innovative solutions to complex, real world problems. These programs will also draw on help from industry experts, business and community leaders and college professors, who will work in partnership with students.

“These rigorous and relevant programs of study are modeled after other successful STEM-based, interdisciplinary programs we’ve observed around the country,” said Dr. Traci Pierce, superintendent. “They will allow students to engage in collaboration, inquiry and problem-based learning.”

Together with funding from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, this award will fund STEM concentration labs for environmental engineering and sustainable design, medical bio-engineering and global engineering.

Dr. Traci Pierce noted, “This award from Waste Management will help with the critical, materials, supplies and equipment for these first signature programs. We are grateful for their assistance.”

The district has been planning these signature programs over the past few years. The three programs funded through this award will be open to 11th and 12th grade students at the STEM School and a limited number of students from other district high schools beginning in 2013-14. All four comprehensive high schools and three choice high schools are developing their own signature programs. 

Foundation President Peg Hunt noted, “We are very excited about connecting businesses with the kinds of educational partnerships that will help prepare a globally competitive workforce. Waste Management recognizes the value of investing in new and innovative approaches to learning, particularly in the STEM area.” This is the largest single gift ever awarded to the foundation.

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About the Lake Washington Schools Foundation: Lake Washington Schools Foundation raises funds to support academic excellence and success for all students in the Lake Washington School District.  For more information, visit or call 425-936-1414

About Lake Washington School District: Lake Washington School District is a high-performing public school district serving Kirkland, Redmond, and Sammamish, Washington. It is the sixth largest district in the state of Washington, with 25,000 students in 51 schools. For more information, visit, or call 425-936-1342

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