Girls + STEM

St. John Paul II STEM Academy is a new Catholic high school located in the heart of Burbank.                          Guided by a vision to provide the best of Catholic education with cutting-edge technology and teaching practices, our mission is to form forward-thinking innovators who are ready for the real world and committed to serving the common good.  

We are committed to encouraging and enabling girls to pursue studies and careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.  Read more below about our model and the research that backs it up.

Girls at JPII STEM

Research and common experience has shown that girls are fully as capable as boys in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.  But it has also shown that, despite their intellectual ability, few young women go on to study STEM majors, and even fewer go on to STEM careers.  Many studies point to two factors as the common basis for the problem: girls’ lack of confidence, and the unappealing atmosphere of male-dominated environments.  

Here is what we are doing about it at St. John Paul II STEM Academy.

We use a unique co-institutional classroom model in the STEM disciplines at St. John Paul II.  Designed to discourage stereotyping and fully capacitate each student to take on leadership within STEM careers, these courses will be split by gender through junior year. This model will allow for a more individualized approach, taking into account the developmental differences that span high school.

Studies show that girls in single-sex environments have higher levels of confidence in STEM fields.  When boys aren’t around, they take more risks and are more willing to try things that initially make them feel uncomfortable.  Not only do they not have to worry about what boys think of them and their abilities, they aren’t faced with the comparison of boys.  Male students tend to be less conscious of mistakes and have less fear in the face of the unknown, which can give the impression that they catch on to concepts more quickly, putting pressure on girls to “keep up”.  

We reduce that pressure by allowing girls their own space and time to learn the material, following exactly the same curriculum as the boys, but developing their own style and ways of being.  The boys and girls will be rejoined as upperclassmen to collaborate and contribute their distinct perspectives.   This way, we will be forming the boys as well as the girls, so they appreciate and value what the girls bring to the table.

Research shows that the way curriculum is designed and the attitudes that are passed on and encouraged by the adults around them has a significant effect on girls and whether or not they move forward in STEM fields.  

Our project-focused model is one that particularly addresses this.  Academic material is presented within the context of real life application, and is specifically designed to build the cognitive and personal skills needed to successfully navigate a challenging professional world.  We emphasize growth mindset, an important antidote to the perfectionism which faces most girls, and not being afraid of failure.  Our teachers are inspiring, encouraging, and focused on supporting our students to build strong academic and emotional foundations.


Read the research

Girls in single-sex environments

Are 85% more likely to take advanced STEM subjects.
Read the study…

Best Practices

Microsoft published a guide to inspiring and supporting girls to pursue STEM careers.  Many of these approaches are integrated into the JPII STEM model.
Read all about it…

The role of curriculum and mentors

The difference maker for girls in STEM is curriculum design and female mentors.  
Read more here…

Femineers at JPstem

We are proud to host our own chapter of Cal Poly Pomona’s Femineer program at St. John Paul II STEM Academy. Join us to learn real engineering skills through creative robotics!

Our program is open to 7th and 8th grade girls.  It is held every Wednesday, 3:30-5pm beginning in September.  The cost is $350 for the full year.  Email Ms. Higgins at [email protected] with any questions.  

Directions and Parking:

Because of our new listing, we are not yet directly searchable on Google Maps.

Our address is 465 E. Olive Ave, Burbank, CA 91501.

Parking is available between the school building and St. Robert Bellarmine Church.  The parking lot entrance is from E. Orange Grove Ave.

Girls STEM Night Out

Calling all middle school girls interested in STEM fields and their moms/mentors!

On Wednesday April 10, we had a wonderful night a girl’s night of fun and inspiration to build up strong and intelligent young women to lead the charge in improving the world.  Someone even won a Virtual Reality Kit!