Clark Creek Elementary School STEM Academy has made history by being the first in the Cherokee County School District to earn prestigious State STEM Certification!
A Georgia Department of Education State STEM Certification Team visited the school on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015 to determine if the school had met the high bar to earn this stamp of approval. After touring the school, seeing its STEM instruction in action and meeting with students, teachers and community partners, the Team, which was made up of State officials and STEM education experts, told Principal Dr. Jennifer Scrivner the good news.
Dr. Scrivner then visited every classroom to tell teachers and students the positive outcome of their four years of hard work… and she was met with jubilation!
“We are simply ecstatic about our State STEM Certification!” Dr. Scrivner said. “The students, teachers and community have worked diligently to ensure an amazing 21st-century education for our students. We know the success we have experienced would not have occurred without the vision and continuous support of the Superintendent, his senior staff and the School Board. It is evident that CCSD is truly preparing students for the frontier careers of tomorrow!”
Clark Creek ES STEM Academy was the 11th elementary school in Georgia to earn this commendation.
“The Cherokee County School District is committed to preparing each of our students for future success… and we know for many students that success will be in STEM careers,” Cherokee County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Frank R. Petruzielo said. “Sparking students’ interest in STEM careers and developing their STEM knowledge at an elementary school age is vital to this success. We’re extremely proud that the efforts of Clark Creek ES STEM Academy’s entire staff, students, parents, volunteers and partners have earned this commendation. And we’re elated that the first designation of this kind in Cherokee County is for not only one of our STEM Academies that so many students choose to attend, but also a Title I school with a greater percentage of at-risk students. This is what real STEM education and real choice is about!”
The school began its efforts to earn the designation in December 2013, and started the official three-year process with the State three years ago. A committee of CCSD Principals and Educational Programs staff was formed last school year to assist in preparations. The State STEM certification process is complex and has 15 specific components the State reviews, including: teacher collaboration, technology integration, STEM competitions, math and science instruction and community partnerships.
In addition to using innovative curriculum developed by CCSD in collaboration with partners including Georgia Tech, Clark Creek ES STEM Academy is home to Regional and State student champions in the annual Technology Competition and LEGO League robotics tournaments. In August, Clark Creek ES STEM Academy was one of only five elementary schools in the State named as a finalist for the Georgia STEM Education Awards, which recognize schools, programs, and companies for outstanding efforts and achievements in supporting and promoting STEM education in Georgia. Last school year, it was selected as the 2015 Georgia Project WET (Water Education for Teachers) School of the Year, and one of its teachers was one of only eight educators statewide honored in 2014- 15 for creativity in the classroom as Georgia Innovation in Teaching Competition winners.
Its outstanding community partners are numerous and include Northside Hospital-Cherokee and Enercon, which was named the CCSD Partner of the Year from the wide field of school-level winners.
Clark Creek ES STEM Academy is one of four STEM Academies launched in CCSD during the 2012-13 school year as part of the first phase of the Cherokee Academies school choice initiative and was selected as CCSD’s pilot school for pursuing the State certification. Not only do the other CCSD STEM Academies plan to pursue certification, but Etowah High School and Woodstock High School also are seeking State high school STEM certification.