STEM Program


Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)

Bishop O’Connell High School is committed to providing students with a multitude of curriculum choices in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). From organic chemistry to digital music production, these courses inspire creativity, problem solving and innovation.

Renovated Science Labs

O’Connell students are able to take full advantage of floor-to-ceiling renovated science classrooms, outfitted with new fixtures and furniture and supported by an advanced technology backbone that includes wireless chemical probes, netbooks and software, and interactive SMART boards to support the school’s comprehensive STEM programs.

Bishop O’Connell also houses a BSL-2 Laboratory (Biosafety Level 2) and students are instructed on appropriate BSL-2 procedures.

Project Lead the Way - Engineering Curriculum

As a part of the school’s rigorous STEM programs, Bishop O’Connell offers a Project Lead the Way (PLTW) engineering curriculum. Students enrolled in these engineering courses experience hands-on lessons, using real-world problems, supported by state-of-the-art CAD systems installed on the classroom laptop computers.

PLTW is the nation's leading provider of rigorous and innovative STEM education programs for high schools. The program is founded on fundamental problem-solving and critical-thinking skills development, while integrating national academic standards and STEM principles to create a model for 21st century learning. The PLTW network includes university, corporate, foundation and association partners. Find out more about PLTW at

Three engineering courses are currently being offered at O’Connell:

Introduction to Engineering Design is a sophomore or junior year course that focuses on the process of engineering design and its application. Through hands-on projects, students apply STEM concepts, learn to understand important standards in the various fields of engineering and document their work in solving engineering-based problems. Students use industry standard 3-D modeling software to design solutions as well as an engineer notebook for the recording of all data. Students present their work to peers and faculty members at the conclusion of the course.

Principles of Engineering emphasizes the underlying principles of engineering and technology. Students apply STEM concepts to real-world problems to develop critical thinking and problem solving skills in four engineering disciplines: civil, mechanical, electrical, and aerospace engineering. Students improve their use of mathematical analysis, computer simulations and scientific method. Engineers often work as a part of a team to plan, design and supervise the development of a project from conception through completion.

In Civil Engineering and Architecture, students learn about various aspects of civil engineering and architecture and apply their knowledge to the design and development of residential and commercial properties and structures. Students use 3D design software to design and document solutions for major course projects. Students communicate and present project results to their peers and members of a professional community of engineers and architects.

View Our Full Course Catalog


More Student Experiences

NASA App Development Challenge Team

On January 8, 2021, a team of students from Bishop O’Connell High School in Arlington learned via a livestream awards program that their submission to the 2020 NASA App Development Challenge (ADC) had earned them accolades and a coveted spot in a NASA leadership event in February.  Read more...

Sept. 1, 2020 - A group of O'Connell students formed a team just before COVID-19 closed the school to compete in a Texas Instruments-NASA student contest called TI CODE 2020. Their "Space Pillow" concept and prototype carried them into the top 25 entries. Read more...

April 17, 2019 - O'Connell student witness NG-11 rocket launch at Wallops Island. Payload includes ThinSat project from Engineering Club. Read more...