KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Three area schools have scored the coveted designation as a Tennessee STEM School.

The state Department of Education announced Wednesday that Knox County Schools' Farragut High School, Oliver Springs High School in Roane County and Elk Valley Elementary School in Campbell County were among 11 schools to receive the title. A total of 26 schools now have the STEM designation in Tennessee.

STEM schools specialize in offering a curriculum to boost students' education in fields such as science, engineering, math and computing.

Current STEM schools include the L & N STEM Academy in downtown Knoxville, part of the Knox County Schools system.

Education Secretary Penny Schwin said in a press release Wednesday that STEM-oriented fields are among the fastest growing in the country, "and we owe it to our students to prepare them for the jobs of the future."

The STEM designation was prepared in conjunction with the STEM Leadership Council and Tennessee STEM Innovation Network.

Schools had to apply and go through screening to get the STEM recognition. They faced on-site visits with a review team.

Schools were screened for infrastructure, curriculum and instruction, professional development, achievement and community and postsecondary partnerships, according to the Education Department.