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The North Carolina State Board of Education recognized three public schools earlier this month for exemplary leadership and instruction in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. These schools are the latest schools to be recognized under the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction’s STEM Recognition Program.

Earning recognition as NC STEM Schools of Distinction were Greene County Middle School, Meadowview Magnet Middle School in Surry County and Yadkin Valley Regional Career Academy in Davidson County.

State Superintendent Mark Johnson commended the schools for attaining STEM Schools of Distinction recognition.

“Students in all schools will graduate into a world where STEM skills already are highly valued,” Johnson said. “These schools are helping to lead the way with exemplary instruction that’s preparing students to succeed and thrive in that world.”

The STEM Recognition Program was developed by NCDPI in partnership with representatives from schools, business and industry, and postsecondary institutions as a way to identify and recognize schools with outstanding STEM programs. The application process rubric is built around NCDPI’s STEM Attributes, which describe characteristics of a high quality STEM school.

Since the program was started in 2014, a total of 29 public schools have earned STEM recognition.

NC STEM Schools of Distinction exemplify outstanding leadership and learning, which empower keen creative thinking, reasoning and teamwork – the underpinnings of 21st century skills. Schools that earn recognition also systemically interweave science, technology, engineering and mathematics into complementary coursework in the Arts, Career and Technical Education, English language arts, Healthful Living and World History. Both Greene County Middle and Yadkin Valley Regional Career Academy were recognized for Model Level of Achievement, which perform the attributes to a highest standard as measured by the rubric used to in the STEM recognition program.

Overall, 12 applications were submitted for possible recognition during the 2017-18 school year. Schools pursuing recognition underwent a rigorous application process that required:

*Detailed responses and evidence addressing each of the 11 attributes of quality STEM education and more than 40 key elements that define the quality characteristics rooted within the attributes;
*A self assessment of the school aligning to the attribute implementation rubric; and
*Identification of their best practice of educational excellence.
*To receive this honor, schools designated as STEM Schools of Distinction are rooted in a culture where creativity and inquiry exists among students, teachers, administrators and community members. *The schools also emphasize engaging students in a way of innovation and problem solving to seek solutions, and collaborative teamwork. Additionally, schools have established a network of community relationships and strategies that foster purposeful connections between student studies and the world outside their classroom.

In all, the schools approach education with intentionality to engage and inspire students through learning experiences that are real, relevant and balanced whereby all content areas are equally responsive to cultivating growth and success.

In addition to being honored by the State Board of Education, the schools will be recognized on the department’s STEM web page and the NCSTEM Center Portal and receive a specially designed STEM School of Distinction banner provided by the NC Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education Center. This year’s recognized schools were celebrated also with a reception sponsored by the Public Consulting Group (PCG), which presented custom plaques to each recipient to display within their schools and at their district offices.

For more information on the NCDPI STEM Recognition Program, please visit NCDPI’s STEM web page.

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