North Georgia Schools Among Winners For Second Annual STEM Education Awards

Monday, September 30, 2013

The Technology Association of Georgia and the TAG Education Collaborative announced the winners for the Second Annual STEM Education Awards at a special awards ceremony held in Savannah on Friday.  The awards were created to recognize and honor individuals and organizations for their outstanding effort and achievement in supporting and promoting STEM education in Georgia.

“Recent studies predict that Georgia will need to fill more than 211,000 STEM-related jobs by the year 2018,”said Tino Mantella, TAG president/CEO. “As a result, we have to get our kids interested in STEM today, so that they are better prepared to seize the opportunities of tomorrow. Today’s event is just one way that TAG is helping to promote and celebrate STEM Education in Georgia and we congratulate this year’s finalists and winners.”

More than 170 applicants in eight different categories competed in the Second Annual Georgia STEM Education Awards. Although finalists were named during a special state-wide broadcast on Aug. 30, the winners were announced during a special, two-day event and awards gala on Friday held at the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center.  The event is sponsored in part by Promethean and Cisco Systems Inc.

“We congratulate all the finalists and winners for continuing to advance STEM education and look forward to working with TAG-Ed in Georgia and beyond to support STEM enrichment technology projects that help students become more aware, motivated, active and collaborative,” said Lupita Knittel, chief marketing officer, Promethean.

The winners of the 2013 awards are: 

Elementary School: Hightower Elementary STEM School, DeKalb County

Hightower has been able to create an atmosphere of exploration, enhanced learning and higher levels of integrated rigor through creating a grass-roots STEM curriculum that is inclusive of innovative engineering projects. The experiences that the students have had include creating hidden alarms for water bottles, electric cars, and water purification systems for undeveloped countries. Hightower's instructional day welcomes STEM through its integrated content, as well as the 2 1/2 hour Mathematics Block that every grade level experiences. Likewise, students experience STEM enhancements through school clubs, such as Robotics, Technology, The Girls' Club and many more. STEM is a culture and a way of life at The High.

Middle School: Rossville Middle School, Walker County

Teachers use definedstem.com as their main resource to develop STEM-based projects for their students each semester. These projects provide students with an application of the curriculum standards and connect learning to careers. Math and Science teachers attended a training session by Dave Reese with definedstem.com to best utilize this resource. Two connection classes were created to promote STEM learning, and Inner City Aquaponics helped to create a mini catfish farm at the school pond. Next year, an agricultural teacher will collaborate with the school’s science, technology and math teachers to further promote STEM learning at Rossville Middle. 

High School: Forsyth Central High School, Forsyth County

The FCHS STEM Academy is a merit based program with strict application requirements and rigorous course plans. Students completing the STEM Academy program will earn Advanced Placement credits and will be involved with internships with local industries and research universities during their senior year. They are also required to complete a GA CTAE pathway in Biotechnology and/or Engineering. STEM Academy students are required to compete in co-curricular academic competitions including but not limited to Science Olympiad, Science Fair, BEST Robotics, MATE Robotics, and VEX Robotics. The STEM Academy students also compete in a design challenge each fall semester. 

Extracurricular Program:CFY: Atlanta’s Digital Learning Program, Fulton County

CFY's mission is to help students, along with their teachers and families, harness the power of digital learning to improve educational outcomes. CFY partners with select middle schools to encourage students, parents and teachers to use technology and digital learning to improve educational outcomes in our low-income communities. Through our Digital Learning Program, CFY-Atlanta delivers high-impact interventions that leverage digital learning to positively impact: Student engagement and ownership in their learning, Teachers ability to personalize instruction and teach to the new Common Core State Standards, and Parental involvement around learning and strengthen the home learning environment. 

Post Secondary Outreach: Georgia Tech’s Center for Education Integrating Science Mathematics and Computing(CEISMC)

Since 1991, the Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics, and Computing (CEISMC) has coordinated the majority of STEM outreach efforts for Georgia Tech. With more than 40 full time staff and faculty in Atlanta and Savannah dedicated to STEM outreach, CEISMC serves to develop, coordinate, and evaluate partnership-driven university-K-12 STEM educational initiatives. Faculty across campus actively collaborates with CEISMC to design and implement initiatives that broadly impact K-12 STEM education. CEISMC has a long history of K-12 STEM curriculum development, teacher professional development, and offering summer STEM learning experiences. CEISMC currently serves as the primary STEM partner in Georgia’s Race to the Top (RT3) initiative. 

Classroom Technology: Woodville Tompkins Technical and Career High School, Savannah-Chatham County

By offering the first certified advanced industrial robotics program in the state, Woodville Tompkins Technical and Career High School has raised the bar for what a high school manufacturing, robotics, and engineering program should look like. Through the FANUC CERT cart training program students are offered the opportunity to earn an industry recognized certification years ahead of their peers. FANUC is the world’s leading industrial robotics company and offer employment opportunities in every major manufacturing industry. The students who pass Woodville's certification exam are prepared for a 21st century career.

Corporate Outreach: General Electric (GE), Atlanta, Fulton County

GE’s Georgia businesses join forces to ignite minds, power robotics, and educate future leaders through various activities in the Atlanta area. Igniting Minds is a program sponsored by GE that aims to strengthen middle school students’ abilities in the area of math. This program uses interactive activities to make abstract concepts real for students. Additionally, GE volunteers dedicate hundreds of hours of time each year to helping students learn, love, and do real engineering through the FIRST™ Robotics Competition. Students also develop life skills in team work, problem solving, professionalism, leadership, and executive presentation. Most recently in the community, the Women in Engineering Program at GA Tech partnered with GE to host a week-long day camp for middle school girls. This fun and interactive camp gave girls an early introduction to the exciting world of STEM with the goal of inspiring them to consider college majors and careers in these areas. 

Best STEM Day Activity: Woodland Middle School, East Point, Fulton County

On STEM day 2013, Woodland Middle School hosted a STEM fair where 300 students in grade 6-8 either presented their products from an engineering design challenge or presented on STEM careers. Students were required to utilize the engineering design process to develop novel products from recycled materials, build and test toothpick bridges, rubber band cars or roller coaster designs. In addition to the STEM fair, all 1100 of the school's students participated in district STEM Day activities in their science classes where they built marshmallow catapults, manila folder roller coasters, and Rube Goldberg machines. Teachers prepared the school for STEM day by showing videos about STEM Day and STEM careers on the school wide morning news broadcast each day. As 90% of Woodland Middle School students receive free or reduced lunch, Woodland extended STEM Day into a week long event to benefit the students who otherwise may not have been exposed to STEM careers and concepts. 

“It is so gratifying to see STEM education gaining momentum throughout the state of Georgia,” said Michael Robertson, executive director of TAG-Ed. “In order for our students to be prepared for tomorrow’s careers, they must first acquire strong analytical and problem solving skills through rigorous coursework in school. The programs highlighted today are leading the way in this effort and sharing best practices that will prepare our students for the challenges ahead. “ 

To learn more, about the Georgia STEM Education Awards please visit: http://www.tagonline.org/events/stem-education-awards/.


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