The Tennessee Department of Education and the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network (TSIN) today announced 22 schools received the Tennessee STEM School Designation for 2020. The honor recognizes schools for their commitment to promoting and integrating STEM and/or STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) learning for all students that ultimately prepares them for post-secondary college and career success in the 21st century.
"As part of his Future Workforce Initiative, Governor Lee set out to triple the number of STEM- designated schools in Tennessee by 2022, and we are thrilled to see twice as many schools receive the Tennessee STEM Designation this year from last year,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “STEM education not only engages students with real-world problem solving in the classroom but provides them with the opportunity to develop creative and critical thinking skills that will prepare them for post-secondary success. We know STEM-related jobs are in high demand, and as a State, it is so important that we give all students the tools they need to be successful in the 21st century economy.”
Since 2018, forty-eight schools have earned the Tennessee STEM Designation, which was developed in partnership with the STEM Leadership Council to provide a “roadmap” for schools to successfully implement a STEM and/or STEAM education plan at the local level. Schools that receive this honor also serve as models from which others may visit and learn. All K–12 schools serving students in Tennessee are eligible.
“Schools that earn STEM Designation incorporate strong STEM teaching and learning experiences that rest on inquiry, technology integration, work-based learning, and project/problem-based learning strategies tied to the world around us,” said Brandi Stroecker, Director of TSIN. “Each school has a unique STEM program, yet incorporates a similar approach by providing diverse, transdisciplinary teaching practices where students become the drivers of their learning. TSIN appreciates the hard work and passion that each STEM Designated school pours into their educational community. These schools consistently provide students with learning experiences that shape their aspirations for the future.”
Each school awarded the Tennessee STEM School Designation was evaluated through a rigorous application process including a self-evaluation, interviews, and hosting site visits with the Tennessee STEM Designation review team. The designation rubric included five focus areas: infrastructure, curriculum and instruction, professional development, achievement, and community and postsecondary partnerships.
As a part of the process, schools were also required to submit a plan of action for implementing and sustaining STEM and/or STEAM education for the next five years. From this process, a total of 22 schools received the Tennessee STEM School Designation for 2020:
· Ashland City Elementary School, Cheatham County Schools
· Bradley Academy- An Arts Integrated School (K-6), Murfreesboro City Schools
· Cleveland High School, Cleveland City Schools
· Erma Siegel Elementary School, Murfreesboro City Schools
· Harrison Elementary School, Hamilton County Schools
· Hixson Middle School, Hamilton County Schools
· Kenwood High School, Clarksville-Montgomery County School System
· Memphis Academy of Science and Engineering (MASE) (9-12), Shelby County Schools
· Midway Middle School, Roane County School District
· Mount Pleasant Elementary School, Maury County Public Schools
· Mount Pleasant High School, Maury County Public Schools
· Mount Pleasant Middle School, Maury County Public Schools
· Normal Park Museum Magnet (PK-8), Hamilton County Schools
· Peabody High School, Trenton Special School District
· Petros-Joyner Elementary School, Morgan County Schools
· Pope John Paul II High School, Private
· Portland East Middle School, Sumner County Schools
· Randolph Howell Elementary, Maury County Public Schools
· Red Bank Elementary School, Hamilton County Schools
· Red Bank High School, Hamilton County Schools
· Sequoyah High School, Monroe County Schools
· Waterville Elementary School, Bradley County Schools
"In the 20 years Mount Pleasant Middle School of the Visual and Performing Arts has been serving students, there perhaps has not been a greater distinction for our school than being designated as a Tennessee State Certified STEM School,” said Timothy Drinkwine, Principal of Mount Pleasant Middle School of the Visual and Performing Arts. “Since opening its doors in 2001, Mount Pleasant Middle has set out to provide a premiere Visual and Performing Arts education for the boys and girls of Maury County. With the newly TSIN Certification, we are proud to wave the banner of STEAM education for all to see. Our students, teachers, and greater community will make the State of Tennessee proud with our innovative approaches to teaching and learning, our problem-based classrooms, and our exemplary design thinking."
STEM and/or STEAM education is a diverse, interdisciplinary curriculum in which activities in one class complement those in other classes and offer teaching and learning opportunities focused on inquiry-, technology-, and project-based learning activities and lessons connected to the real world.