Another Bartow County school is well on its way to becoming a state-certified STEM school.
After completing all the requirements in mid-October, White Elementary officially became the third school in the county — behind Clear Creek Elementary and Adairsville Middle — to achieve certification in science, technology, engineering and mathematics from the Bartow County School System.
"I am so proud of my school," Principal Amy Heater said. "The parents, staff and students have been a part of this from the beginning. The hard work and dedication to this great initiative has come together beautifully. I know that we will continue to grow and strengthen our STEM program in the near future."
"We are very excited to award White Elementary School with this prestigious honor," district spokeswoman Alisha Evans said. "Faculty and staff have worked very hard to engage students in a myriad of hands-on STEM concepts and fuel a love of learning that could someday translate into a lucrative STEM-related job."
Administrators, teachers and staff celebrated their accomplishment with Superintendent Dr. Phillip Page and Deputy Superintendent Dr. David Chiprany at an afternoon reception at the school Nov. 10.
"Dr. Page, our superintendent, and Dr. Chiprany, our deputy superintendent, presented us with a banner while they congratulated the school for the hard work and dedication to excellence," Heater said. "They both encouraged us to continue our journey to seek state certification."
Heater, Page and Chiprany also spoke about the collaborative efforts of the faculty and staff members who helped earn the new STEM certification designation.
"The staff worked through a rigorous process to ensure STEM standards were being implemented throughout every classroom pre-K through fifth grade," Heater said. "The STEM subcommittee [Stephanie Meadows, Paula Camp, Jennifer Martin, Lannette Layton, Cathy Bishop and Sherri Farmer] visited other STEM schools to gain knowledge and direction for our program. The school also participated in professional development during collaborative meetings and attended professional development through north Georgia."
The school also was recognized at the BCSS school board meeting Monday night.
“We’re very proud to honor our third school in Bartow County – our second elementary school – with the Bartow County STEM certification recognition,” Page said at the meeting. “Amy, good job.”
The certification process officially began about two years ago, although the school had "started small by doing STEM Fridays and other STEM initiatives" roughly five years ago, and was completed Oct. 16 after the third STEM walk wrapped up, Heater said.
"White Elementary has been doing many of the initiatives and activities for years and wanted to highlight the great achievements of both staff and students," she said. "We definitely want to make sure we are preparing our students for the future."
Evans said the school is "dedicated to teaching the STEM disciplines of science, technology, engineering and math throughout the entire school."
"By integrating these content standards, WES students are making deep connections between academic ideas and real-life phenomena," she said. "Following this system STEM certification, WES can complete the necessary steps to obtain state STEM certification. It’s the district’s goal to have every school state STEM-certified."
Being STEM-certified by the county means the curriculum is "shifted in a way that is driven by project and problem-based learning, investigative research and community partnerships," Evans added, and also allows White to "push forward into eventually getting certified by the state of Georgia," Heater said.
"The school will eventually, in the near future, start working on state certification requirements," Heater said, noting the staff hopes to begin the process in 2022. "We want to strengthen our current program."