After five years of hard work, it was party time at M. Agnes Jones Elementary School on Tuesday as the school celebrated becoming the first Atlanta Public School to earn STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) certification.
The school held a pep rally featuring Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Meria J. Carstarphen and State Schools Superintendent Richard Woods. Prior to the rally, Dr. Carstarphen and Woods were taken on a tour of the school’s urban farm where students are growing lettuce, spinach, carrots, collards and basil. Students are also caring for the farm’s two chickens – Coco Puff and Valentine.
M.A. Jones Principal Margul Woolfolk said the five-year journey to become a certified STEM school was well worth it. Instead of teaching science, technology, engineering and math in isolation, the STEM schools feature an integrated curriculum driven by problem solving, discovery, exploratory project/problem-based learning and student-centered development of ideas and solutions. It helps prepare students for success in the 21st century workforce.
“I wanted this to be sustainable for the long term, and so it took some time for all of our teachers to be certified in STEM. Also, being a charter system gave us autonomy with our funds so that we could adequately support STEM,” Woolfolk said. “It’s having an impact on our students and the community.”
As a part of Teen Tech Week, volunteers from Best Buy will host an Hour of Code workshop in the South Atlanta High School media center on March 11, 2015 at 3:30 p.m. The workshop will help students with their digital literacy skills and introduce them to the basics of coding.
South Atlanta was one of 11 sites nationwide chosen to host this event. Shanna Miles, media specialist at South Atlanta,spearheaded the partnership and says that this is a great opportunity for APS students. “We’re partnering with Best Buy to introduce our students to opportunities in the STEM fields. Many students of color and girls are under-represented in the field. By exposing them early on, we may be able to spark an interest that blooms into a future career,” said Miles.
Chevron’s STEM Zone can be found at many popular golf tournaments and is full of fascinating lessons that explore the exciting world where science and sports collide.
Students even had an exciting opportunity to see Tiger Woods in person!In the STEM Zone tent, students learned the connection between math and science, and the game of golf. Coan students participated in enriching hands- on activities involving speed, aerodynamics, friction and energy.
Students at Thomasville Heights Elementary also traveled to the East Lake Golf Club on September 18th for the PGA TOUR Championship Practice Round. During the event, students were exposed to golf and learned more about the sport.
Golf coach Willie Burkes, who recently hosted a golf clinic at Thomasville Heights, began the field trip with a tour of the country club and gave students a detailed synopsis of the game. The students met legendary Pro Golfer Phil Mickleson and watched Tiger Woods practice his drills on the green.
The students of Thomasville Heights Elementary enjoyed themselves on their golf field trip and are inspired to be future golfers!
On March 14th, Communities in Schools invited 25 eighth grade girls from Coan Middle School to attend a college access conference focusing on S.T.E.M and nonconventional careers for women. The event was held at Georgia Institute of Technology and was funded through a College Access Challenge Grant (CAGC). The young women were privileged to receive special mentorship from motivational speakers in the fields for science, math, and technology. The events included breakout sessions about college and career planning, a tour of the campus, and hands on S.T.E.M. activities. Lunch and transportation to and from the event was sponsored and coordinated by CIS.
The students had a fantastic experience learning about the opportunities for girls in S.T.E.M. careers. Kiara Mahoney raved, “I had a great time on the trip to Georgia Tech. (The college) has so many opportunities for different classes. It made a huge impact on my life!” The breakout sessions included topics such as Dollars for S.T.E.M. Scholars, Why Geek is the New Chic, Think College Now, and S.T.E.M. Resources form Texas Instruments.
This event provided students the opportunity to begin planning for college and their future careers earlier than most. Vickie Johnson, Coan Middle CIS Site Coordinator, was extremely impressed with both the level of exposure provided to the girls as well as the projected impact on their futures. “The students were engaged and excited about meeting the CEO of Lockheed, an African-American female. They asked for more activities like this in the future.”
The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia has been leading efforts for the CACG grant since 2008. Communities in Schools of Atlanta (CIS) has been making a difference in the lives of the students at Coan Middle School since 2006. This was the first opportunity for the Atlanta Public Schools CIS community to participate in this event.