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What is a STEM School?

STEM School Highlands Ranch's STEM curriculum differs from traditional schools. The school shooting on May 7 left one student dead and eight injured. Two suspects are in custody.
Credit: KUSA
Shooting scene at STEM School Highlands Ranch

HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. — Curriculum at STEM School Highlands Ranch, where authorities said one student was killed and eight others were injured during a shooting Tuesday, is focused on science technology, engineering and math.

Schools with STEM curriculum tend to take an "integrated, interdisciplinary approach to learning a variety of subjects and skills that exposes students to hands-on experiences. It’s all an effort to prepare students for the 21st century economy," according to Chalkbeat.

RELATED: 1 student killed, 8 others injured when classmates open fire at STEM School Highlands Ranch

STEM School Highlands Ranch is a K-12 charter academy in the Douglas County School District.

Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock said two shooters walked into the school at South Ridgeline Boulevard and Plaza Drive at around 1:50 p.m. Tuesday and opened fire on their classmates in “two separate locations.”

The Douglas County coroner said Wednesday that Kendrick Castillo, 18, was the student who was killed.

RELATED: Student killed at STEM School Highlands Ranch lunged at gunman, classmate says

The Chalkbeat article uses a great example to differentiate between "learning science at a regular school" and "learning science at a STEM school":

"Are my students just reading about renewable energy? Or are they doing things like studying what forms of renewable energy could run an entire high school, and then presenting their findings to renewable energy experts?"

The latter example is the STEM school.

RELATED: ‘There was a shooting at my son’s school today’: A STEM School Highlands Ranch dad’s heartbreaking Twitter thread

STEM School Highlands Ranch was founded in 2011 and has grown to more than 1,850 students, according to the school’s website. The school is broken up into three sections: an elementary school, a middle school and a high school.

Sheriff Tony Spurlock in a Tuesday press conference said the campus does not have a dedicated school resource officer, and instead contracted out its security. It also did not have metal detectors.

RELATED: Suspect in STEM School Highlands Ranch shooting facing 30 counts

Classes will be canceled at the campus through the end of the week. All other Douglas County schools will be open with heightened security.

A Crisis Support Center will be available at St. Andrew United Methodist Church starting at 8 a.m. Wednesday.

RELATED: 'Admirable and inspiring': Aspiring Marine helped subdue gunman at STEM School Highlands Ranch

STEM School Highlands Ranch is located at 8773 S. Ridgeline Blvd. in Highlands Ranch.

According to the school’s "About" page, the school is “an innovative, free, public, charter learning community that exists to innovate K-12 education in order to prepare every student to lead change, solve problems and succeed in an exponentially changing world.”

RELATED: How to talk to your kids about the deadly STEM School Highlands Ranch shooting

Bobbi Sheldon, Caitlin Hendee, Allison Sylte and Janet Oravetz contributed to this report.

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