Newsweek, in partnership with educational company STEM.org, has identified Essex High School as one of the top U.S. high school programs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics in ratings released in November. Essex was rated 50th on the national list of public and private high schools, and was the only Vermont school in the top 500. It was ranked fourth among public schools in New England and 34th among public schools nationally. In 2013, the high school established a STEM Academy for 10th through 12th graders, designed to support students interested in building a strong foundation in STEM subjects. About 10 percent of EHS students — 135 — are enrolled in the STEM Academy. They are required to complete internships with community partners. One student recently worked with Montpelier-based Archimedes Aerospace and the University of Vermont to measure cloud cover using Arduino, an open-source platform for building electronics projects, said STEM Academy leader Lea Ann Smith. Students also participate in STEM Fridays, where they undertake interactive projects like building a prosthetic hand or maintaining a trout tank. Students who complete the program requirements receive an endorsement on their high school diploma to indicate they have gone above and beyond in areas of scientific exploration and creativity. Smith said she hopes the Newsweek ranking raises community awareness about the STEM Academy and leads to more community partners working with students.