Comparing Lakeland and STEM


Aly Caywood, News Writer

The choices people make about what to focus on in high school can have a significant impact on their education in the future.

People choose which school they want to attend based on their priorities. The question is, what is more important: rigorous-knowledge-based learning or a more well-rounded education?

Lakeland High School and North Idaho STEM Charter Academy are two schools located in Rathdrum, Idaho.  Though very different from each other, they both provide students with opportunities unique to their educational priorities.  

STEM mainly focuses on high-achieving, educational-based schooling.  This, according to Dr. Molly Kreyssler, “is a good fit for a certain demographic of students who want to be primarily focused on their academic life.”  Extracurricular activities provided by the school include Science Bowl, Envirothon, 3d Printing, and Chess Club.  

North Idaho STEM students attend classes four days per school week, allowing for a three-day weekend.  However, no learning time is lost during the 8-hour school day, during which both teachers and students work hard to gain knowledge.  The smaller size of the school also allows for more interaction between the students and teachers, which can also be helpful.

Dr. Molly Kreyssler, a College and Career Exploration Specialist and the founder of Bloom Coaching, discusses the importance of both academic and extracurricular participation.  She says that along with well-placing test scores, “strong applications include a good track record of activities, a dynamic essay, and great reflection of the learning the student has experienced.”

Larger schools, such as Lakeland, provide more variety in the coursework and extracurricular activities.  There are sports, clubs, and plenty of electives for students to find something of interest to them. “This allows students to explore interests at a broader level for their own personal growth,” says Dr. Kreyssler.  

Lakeland Students attend their classes five days a week but have a shorter school day than STEM.  This allows more time for students to participate in activities outside of school.

High school students who recently switched schools from STEM to Lakeland discuss the difference between their experiences at the two schools. 

Jay Johnston, a sophomore at LHS, says, “Lakeland is awesome.  STEM is more formal with uniforms and rules.  Lakeland has a freedom that STEM doesn’t provide that is nice for the students.  I really like off-campus lunches.”  Jay also says he likes that there is an armed guard at the school.  “I think Mr. Hatcher is one of the main reasons why Lakeland is awesome,” he says.

Isaac Cleve, also a sophomore at Lakeland, says, “It is different having to go to school for five days a week rather than 4, but overall I think Lakeland is a well-structured school with a nice community.” 

Isaac also says that he appreciates the “balance between workload and social life” that Lakeland offers as opposed to STEM’s rigorous expectations.  

“STEM may have put me ahead academically for the future, but I feel like I can still achieve my same goals at Lakeland while in an environment I like better,” he added.

No matter which school a student attends, what is most important is their attitude behind it and their enthusiasm for their education.  

“It’s important for students and families to consider ‘fit’ when considering what type of school to attend,” says Dr. Kreyssler. “There is no ‘one size fits all’ and one that is necessarily better than the other, but there is a right choice and fit for each individual student.”