Oak Ridge Schools is the first district in Tennessee—and only the second entire district in the world—to earn district-wide STEM certification from AdvancED, officials said Friday. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Oak Ridge High School received STEM certification from AdvancED on Friday, making the Oak Ridge school district the first entire district in the state to be STEM-certified by AdvancED, a press release said.
“Oak Ridge High School is also the first comprehensive high school in the state to earn this distinction as an entire school, as opposed (to) certifying a single STEM program area,” the press release said.
The release said that AdvancED implements a research-based framework and criteria for the awareness, continuous improvement, and assessment of the quality, rigor, and substance of STEM educational programs.
“The certification process clearly defines the qualities and components vital to creating and sustaining superior student-centered K-12 STEM teaching and learning programs, as well as clear expectations for student outcomes and mastery of 21st century skills,” the press release said.
The certification process includes two days of intensive communication with “school stakeholders,” classroom observations to see students in action, and an exit presentation of the findings from the review team, the press release said.
“The Oak Ridge School district has always been committed to the advancement of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in quality education for its students,” the release said. “We have augmented this focus with an emphasis on preparing students for future STEM occupations and fostering 21st century skills for collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking utilizing interdisciplinary problem-based learning. A critical part of this process has been the pursuit of recognition by and recommendations from AdvancED STEM certification, which will authenticate and build upon our current curricular practices for infusing STEM-based learning in our daily instruction.”
In the spring of 2016, three Oak Ridge elementary schools earned AdvancED STEM certification: Glenwood, Linden, and Woodland elementary schools. In the spring of 2017, three more schools in Oak Ridge received this distinction: Willow Brook Elementary, Jefferson Middle, and Robertsville Middle.
With the addition of the high school certification, the entire district is now STEM-certified, the press release said.
“Our desire is to prepare our learners for the careers of tomorrow by perpetuating their enthusiasm for STEM disciplines today,” the press release said. “Our focus on STEM demonstrates our continued commitment to ensure every Oak Ridge student is prepared for college, career, and life success.”
More information will be added as it becomes available.
This press release was submitted by Holly Cross.
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