Nashville, TN – The Tennessee Department of Education and the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network (TSIN) have announced 13 schools received the Tennessee STEM School Designation for 2021.
The honor recognizes schools for preparing students for postsecondary and future career success by committing to promote STEM and/or STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) learning for their students.
The designation program is aligned to Tennessee Governor Bill Lee’s Future Workforce Initiative and goal to triple the number of STEM-designated schools.
“STEM-based education helps prepare students for future success in both their academic education and in their careers,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn.
“Governor Lee and the department are committed to providing students with STEM learning experiences to enrich their education, and we are thrilled to see the number of the STEM designated schools continue to grow.” Schwinn stated.
Since 2018 when the program began, 61 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, Tennessee STEM Innovation Network director.
“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. The network 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,” Stroecker statd.
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 13 schools received the Tennessee STEM School Designation for 2021:
- Battle Creek Elementary, Maury County Public Schools
- Campus School University of Memphis, Shelby County Schools
- Cason Lane Academy, Murfreesboro City Schools
- T-STEM Academy at East High School, Shelby County Schools
- Fort Loudoun Middle School, Loudon County Schools
- George Washington Elementary, Kingsport City Schools
- Indian Lake Elementary, Sumner County Schools
- John P. Freeman Optional School, Shelby County Schools
- Kenwood Middle School, Clarksville-Montgomery County Schools
- Lenoir City Intermediate School, Lenoir City Schools
- Northview Primary School, Sevier County Schools
- Rose Park Math and Science Magnet, Metro Nashville Public Schools
- William H. Brewster Elementary, Shelby County Schools
District and school leaders and elected officials are thrilled to congratulate these schools for receiving this honor and to emphasize the importance of STEM education.
“Congratulations to the students, parents and teachers at T-STEM Academy at East High School and all of these schools for achieving this Tennessee STEM Designation,” said Senate Education Committee Chairman Brian Kelsey. “A STEM education provides students with the problem solving, critical thinking and the teamwork skills needed for in-demand careers in Tennessee’s growing high-tech industries. I look forward to seeing great success from these students in the future.”
“William H. Brewster Elementary Optional School has focused on STEM for the past few years, with an added component of the arts,” said Angela Askew, Principal, William H. Brewster Elementary Optional School. “Achieving the official title of Tennessee STEM Designated School is a recognition we will proudly share with our entire school community. Our teachers, parents, and community partners will continue to work diligently together to enhance the skills and experiences of critical thinking, innovation, and project-based learning of our scholars daily.”
“STEM education is having a tremendous impact on Tennessee’s economy and workforce,” said State Sen. Speaker Pro Tempore Ferrell Haile. “I congratulate the students, parents, teachers at Indian Lake Elementary School and all these schools for successfully achieving this Tennessee STEM designation. It will help ensure that these students have the tools they need for a very bright future.”
“STEAM helps student to connect the WHY behind the WHAT they are expected to learn in school with a focus on solution-seeking learning, hands-on activities, and real-world application,” said Rommie Vasser Jr., Principal, Rose Park Math and Science Magnet School.
“Congratulations to the students, parents and teachers at all of these schools for successfully achieving the Tennessee STEM Designation,” said State Sen. Frank Nicely. “A special congratulations to George Washington Elementary School in my Senate District. It is very important in this growing era of technology that our youth have access to the skills they need to succeed and compete for 21st century jobs. A STEM education will open up many opportunities for these students, while helping to build a strong and thriving workforce in our communities.”
“Congratulations to Cason Lane Academy for receiving this STEM designation. Our students have the talent,” said State Sen. Dawn White. “We must continue to provide them with the tools and guidance they need to be successful in an increasingly important STEM workforce. This designation process is a key way to amplify student success so they have the skills they need to reach their career goals and fulfill their dreams.”
“Focusing on STEM education and training is key to building a sustaining and growing economy and a thriving workforce. I am very proud of Northview Primary School and all of these schools for receiving this designation,” said State Sen. Steve Southerland. “It will provide our students with the characteristics and practices of an excellent STEM education that will give them the tools they need to be prepared for their careers. I look forward to seeing much success from these students in the future.”
“A STEM education is increasingly important as technology continues to grow and expand in Tennessee,” said State Senator Bill Powers. “It provides powerful learning opportunities to students so they can compete for higher-paying, in-demand jobs. I am very proud of the work being done at all of these schools, especially Kenwood Middle School in my district, to achieve this designation. It is a tremendous investment in these students’ futures.”
“I am tremendously proud of the hard work taking place at Indian Lake Elementary,” said State Rep. Johnny Garrett. “Effective STEM education programs are going to be vital in helping us address the talent needs of Tennessee’s growing science, engineering and technology fields. I appreciate the faculty and staff for their commitment to preparing our students for 21st century jobs.”
“I’m very proud to recognize the achievements of our teachers and staff at Cason Lane Academy who have put a lot of work into creating a collaborative learning environment that helps students think critically,” said State Rep. Tim Rudd. “Their commitment to preparing our students for the jobs of tomorrow makes Cason Lane Academy a model for other schools.”
“A skilled workforce demands investing in education at every level,” said House Education Instruction Subcommittee Chairman Scott Cepicky. “I am thrilled to see Battle Creek Elementary recognized for their strong commitment to addressing college and career readiness for all students. I congratulate the faculty and staff for this outstanding achievement, and I appreciate their continued partnership.”
“The job fields that will be in demand when our students graduate may not yet exist, but strong grasp of core STEM concepts will best prepare them to be the next generation of innovators and job creators,” said House Finance Subcommittee Chairman Gary Hicks. “I congratulate George Washington Elementary for this significant achievement and thank them for providing a pathway for students to learn more about the exciting careers available in science, technology, engineering and math.”
“STEM education has opened many doors for students across Tennessee that traditionally have not been available, said State Rep. Andrew Farmer. “I appreciate the great work of Northview Primary School to give our students a high-quality education that prepares them to excel in post-secondary school and careers and congratulate them on this great honor of receiving the Tennessee STEM Designation.”
“I want to congratulate Fort Loudon Middle School and Lenoir City Intermediate School on receiving this designation,” said State Rep. Lowell Russell. “Their commitment to providing top-tier, innovative education through STEM teaching and learning experiences will give our students many opportunities to succeed beyond the classroom.”
“Congratulations to the students, teachers and staff at John P. Freeman Optional School, as all of our stem schools and stakeholders,” said State Rep. Jesse Chism. “STEM is the foundation at which the flowers of our state can bloom.”
“The state designation is critical to establishing the T-STEM Academy at East High as the designation for gifted students intent on participating the best preparatory environment for enhanced careers in transportation, science, technology, engineering and math,” said State Rep. G.A. Hardaway. “Talented students, dedicated parents, highly qualified faculty and staff, committed sponsors, a supportive community and visionary servant-leaders are read and determined to embrace the T-STEM work that can make our students’ dreams come true.”
“We are so proud of Kenwood Middle School for receiving its STEM designation,” said State Representative Jason Hodges. “This educational opportunity will inspire Montgomery County students to explore, learn, and grow their interests in STEM fields of study.”
“As a proud graduate of Campus School, I am elated that they are continuing to lead the state in producing our brightest students, especially in STEM,” said State Representative London Lamar. “I will continue to advocate and support their educational agenda and producing Tennessee’s best students! Congrats to the Campus School.”
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.