STEM Certified: State Superintendent Presents Woodstock HS Official STEM Banner

STEM Certified: State Superintendent Presents Woodstock HS Official STEM Banner

Category : CCSD

State School Superintendent Richard Woods visited Woodstock High School this week to present the school’s official State STEM Certification banner, recognizing it as the 12th high school in all of Georgia to earn the prestigious honor. 

Woodstock HS is Cherokee County School District’s first high school to earn State STEM Certification, and joins Clark Creek Elementary School STEM Academy on the elite list of 59 approved schools statewide.

“We are so proud of their success in this endeavor,” Cherokee County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said, noting teachers, leaders, students, parents and partners all played an important role.  “We look forward to seeing more of out students become scientists, engineers, doctors, teachers, researchers, programmers… or any of the many other careers STEM knowledge offers them the opportunity to pursue.”

WHS Principal Mark Smith, left, holds the banner presented by State School Superintendent Richard Woods.

The path to State STEM certification is a complex, multi-year process requiring strong evidence of meeting and exceeding standards in areas such as math and science instruction, technology integration, teacher collaboration, STEM competitions, and business partnerships.  Woodstock HS officially earned the designation in November following a State STEM team visit.

The school held a brief program in the media center on Wednesday, Feb. 28 for the banner presentation and remarks from Superintendent Woods, as well as CCSD Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian Hightower and Woodstock HS Principal Mark Smith.  School Board Chair Kyla Cromer was in attendance, along with School Board Members Clark Menard and Kelly Poole, State School Board Member Scott Johnson and an audience of about 120 students and STEM teachers.

CCSD Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian Hightower, School Board members Clark Menard and Kelly Poole; State School Superintendent Richard Woods; School Board Chair Kyla Cromer; Woodstock HS Principal Mark Smith, and State School Board Member Scott Johnson pose with the school’s STEM banner.

Dr. Hightower commended Principal Smith and his team of administrators and teachers for their commitment to the arduous STEM process.  “This is validation of a lot of hard work that is ultimately for the kids,” he said.

Superintendent Woods acknowledged the efforts of the School District in making STEM a priority.

WHS STEM teachers Loretta Muise and Kelly Burke, along with CCSD Math and Science Curriculum Coordinator Shannon Carroll, listen to State Superintendent Richard Woods as he talks about the rigorous STEM certification process.

“This does not happen without leadership support.  That’s clear,” he said, and then turned his attention to the Woodstock HS administrators and teachers, “And without your buy in, I honestly say this does not happen at all.

“A lot of people don’t understand, this certification does not come easy.  There’s a lot of work involved in it and a lot of commitment, and there has to be a lot of collaboration,” Woods said.  “You young people – you are the exception to the rule.  It is my charge to you to say that your journey has just begun here at Woodstock HS.  This is an opportunity.”

Woodstock HS STEM teachers w banner: Dr. Brian Hightower; Deb Hipp; Bonnie Sinclair; Julie Moeller; State Superintendent Richard Woods; Kelly Burke; Loretta Muise; Henry Oglesby; Anna Grantham; Principal Mark Smith and Assistant Principal Todd Sharrock.

Principal Smith thanked his teachers and administrators, especially Assistant Principal Todd Sharrock, and spoke of the importance of STEM in career readiness.

“Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.  Those four words drive our nation’s innovations and competitiveness by generating new ideas, new companies and new industries,” Principal Smith said.  “STEM occupations are projected to grow by 17% into 2018, compared to 9.8 % growth of non-STEM jobs. Three out of five jobs in the future will be STEM-related.

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.  Teachers, you dreamed this several years ago; thank you for all your hard work,” Smith continued.  “Students, words cannot describe how proud I am to be your principal.  Each one of you in this room have taken on a challenge that is incredibly rigorous and rewarding.  You have made a commitment to step outside the normal high school box and pursue classes with a STEM focus.  You have clearly left your mark on Woodstock HS.  Your legacy is forever imprinted on the fabric of Wolverine nation.”

A complete list of STEM certified schools can be found at