Oak Ridge Schools is the first district in the state to earn AdvancED STEM certification for all of its elementary and middle schools, a press release said.
AdvancED uses a research-based framework and criteria for the awareness, continuous improvement, and assessment of the quality, rigor, and substance of STEM educational programs, the press release said. STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
In the spring of 2016, three Oak Ridge elementary schools earned AdvancED STEM certification: Glenwood, Linden, and Woodland. These schools were the first in the district to demonstrate the capacity to prepare students for STEM fields of study and work, the press release said.
In the spring of 2017, three more schools in Oak Ridge received this distinction: Willow Brook Elementary, Jefferson Middle, and Robertsville Middle.
“Our district is the first in the state to certify every elementary and middle school in the district,” the press release said. “We are committed to preparing our learners for the careers of tomorrow by perpetuating their enthusiasm for STEM disciplines today. Our focus on STEM demonstrates our continued commitment to ensure every Oak Ridge student is prepared for college, career, and life success.”
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 comprises 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 release said.
In 1943, the city of Oak Ridge—created for the advancement of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—declared a commitment to quality education for its students, the press release said. Before these subjects were ever collectively called “STEM,” Oak Ridge schools emphasized excellence in instruction in these disciplines, the release said.
“Today more than ever, we recognize the need to prepare students for future occupations by fostering enthusiasm for STEM careers,” the press release said. “Part of this commitment has included the pursuit of recognition by AdvancED STEM certification to authenticate our curricular practices to infuse STEM-based learning in our daily instruction.”
More information will be added as it becomes available.
This press release and photos were submitted by Holly Cross.
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Photos: 1-Students at JMS collaboratively plan problem-based learning (PBL). 2-Students from RMS participate in a PBL that includes a NASA review panel; 3-Students from Willow Brook explain their STEM problems and solutions at family STEM night.