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Marshall High School’s Marshall Academy will launch a new STEM program beginning this fall. The school recently gained the state Board of Education’s approval for a proposed Governor’s science, technology, engineering and math academy. “Really, it was just up to us to take the initiative,” said Marshall Academy Administrator Jeff McFarland. “We have a very strong IT program… But we really want to get into the cyber security field.”

Marshall Academy plans to offer new courses in cyber security, Cisco healthcare, STEM advanced engineering and robotics, and geospatial systems. For the 2013-14 school year, the academy plans to admit some 150 students into new governor’s STEM academy. At full capacity, the academy is projected to enroll some 400 students, grades nine through 12.

“[At] Marshall High School, we’re undergoing a $50 million renovation. So now’s the time [to begin new programming],” McFarland said. “We’re getting new labs, new classrooms.”

The renovations will mean added space for the academy, which receives about 950 applications for about 800 seats, McFarland said.

Governor’s STEM academies aim to expand opportunities for students to gain literacy in STEM fields while earning industry credentials, according to Fairfax County Public Schools.

The Virginia Board of Education approved three STEM academies during a business meeting June 27 in Richmond. The other two academies were approved in Harrisonburg City Public Schools and Montgomery County Public Schools. There are currently 19 Governor’s STEM Academies operating in Virginia, which includes those located in Arlington, Carroll, Chesterfield, Fairfax, Halifax, Loudoun, New Kent, Pulaski, Richmond, Roanoke, Russell, and Stafford counties and the cities of Chesapeake, Hampton, Lynchburg, Newport News, Richmond, and Virginia Beach.

“[The STEM academy] is meant to give students a really full and rewarding experience so that if students go out and take a summer class at Carnegie Mellon [University’s summer academy in Pittsburgh], they can come back to us and take a class on that [similar subject].”

For more information on Marshall Academy, visit