Southwest Secondary Learning Center offers students a robust Career and Technical Education lab that focuses on the exploration of S.T.E.A.M. (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics). In Smart Lab, students apply leading-edge technology to academically focused, standards-based projects. The student-centered curriculum adapts to learners of different abilities and learning styles, resulting in challenged and engaged students learning real-world skills in an academic context. Students work alone or in pairs on challenging hands-on projects that are flexible and open-ended. Students complete multiple projects a year that challenge them every day to use critical thinking skills, problem-solve, collaborate, and communicate. Smart Lab Prepares upper-level students to complete their C.T.E. education through a semester or yearlong capstone project, appropriate dual credit coursework, or work-study opportunities.

Projects are divided into eight essential technology skills and systems. These essential skills are aligned to the S.T.E.M. Career Cluster and post-secondary educational pathways.

Mechanics and Structures

This technology introduces learners to simple machines and the principles of mechanics, gear ratios, structure, and machine parts. Math, Science, and Physics are emphasized.

Computer Graphics

Activities include graphic arts work, digital photography, and digital animation. CAD activities such as architectural drawings, landscape design, illustration engineering drafting, mechanical drafting, and mechanical design.

Science and Data Acquisition

Learners use software to collect and analyze data, then use their analysis to make predictions and create scale models. Learners collect data from their work with a wind tunnel, interactive strength challenger stress testing device, probe ware, and additional scientific kits.

3D Printing and Computer Programming

Students will learn to use entry to advanced level 3D printers and CAD software to design and print 3D objects. Students will learn beginner to intermediate level coding using various computer software programs, iPad and apps, and cloud-based programs.

Robotics and Control Technology

One of the more advanced technologies offered in the lab allows students to simulate complex mechanical processes with Fischertechnik, Lego Mindstorms, Vex Robotics and control them with the multi-technic control interface of computer control technology and electronics.


Learners will compare circuitry as it is used in pneumatics and electricity. The skills and knowledge they obtain here can be used in animatronics, control technology, and electronics.

Computer Simulation

Learners use software to play out long-term scenarios to study cause and effect in simulated cities, simulated worlds, aviation, and other scientific models.

Publishing and Multimedia

This encompasses everything learners need to know about word processing and desktop publishing, including scanners, digital photography, time-lining, and integrating graphics. Students also learn to work with video, animation, and sound production software and hardware.