Woods awards 2 STEM schools
State School Superintendent Richard Woods holds award ceremonies for North Heights and Cave Spring schools for earning STEM certification, and recognizes Elm Street as a Family-Friendly Partnership School.
State School Superintendent Richard Woods visited North Heights and Cave Spring elementary schools on Wednesday to recognize their achievements in earning STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — certification back in May.
The schools also received their STEM-certified banners during award ceremonies involving students, teachers, administrators and community partners. In between his presentations at the two schools, Woods went to Elm Street Elementary to commend them for being a 2017 Family-Friendly Partnership School Award winner.
North Heights Elementary became a STEM-certified school on May 3, making them the second in the Rome City school system and the 49th in the state to do so. On May 13, Cave Spring Elementary became the first school in the Floyd County system and the 53rd in the state to earn its certification. Their statewide rankings are out of all schools, from elementary to high school.
With about 2,300 schools statewide, Woods emphasized the significance of both schools’ accomplishments, saying they are in elite company. STEM education focuses on blending the curriculum of the four fields to improve students’ problem-solving abilities and stimulate creativity and discovery.
The morning ceremony in the cafeteria at North Heights Elementary included the showing of a video that documented the four- years of STEMoriented projects.
Clusters of students seated on the floor responded with laughs or sounds of astonishment as they saw themselves or their classmates appear on the screen, explaining what STEM meant to them or working on a computer or making cardboard designs.
Woods said that he was impressed by the school placing importance on agriculture and environmental science, including growing food in its garden, in its STEM education despite being a city school.
“You have to work at it and earn it,” he said. “This is not the end of your story; it’s just the close of a chapter.”
Later in the day, Cave Spring Elementary Principal Trina Self told the audience in the school’s auditorium that “it’s been a long three- year journey” to get to this point. Amongst the kids seated before her were those who will go on to cure cancer, increase the food supply and solve global warming, she said.
Fifth- grader Nicolas Deaton then took to the podium to describe his best STEM day, a trip to the Floyd County Schools College and Career Academy, where he programmed lights and played tic- tac- toe with a robot. But before he stepped down, he shared a joke.
Before becoming a STEM school, students might answer “air” when asked what do they all need but aren’t able to see, Deaton said. Now they might say “Wi- Fi,” he said.
“This does not happen unless you buy in,” said Woods. “Now you have opened your door for a broader reach.”
Woods told students at both schools they are in a good spot for securing their future, as by the time they graduate, most jobs in Georgia will be related to STEM.
Elm Street Principal JoAnn Moss accepted a plaque from Woods in the school’s gym Wednesday morning, and a welcome mat with the award’s name on it was rolled out. The school was one of five in the state to be recognized as a Family-Friendly Partnership School that creates a welcoming environment for all who enter and establishes cooperative relationships with families and community members.
A school committee had to define and explain the family engagement ini-
tiatives Elm Street does in an application to the Georgia Department of
Education Parent Engagement Program. Woods said members of the review team posed as parents and visited the school to confirm they were the real deal beyond what was put on paper.
“You certainly do education right,” he said.
Students need to know their community extends beyond their school and they are a part of it, Moss said. Some of the school’s community work includes providing six months worth of food to the Community Kitchen with funding help and building a tiny house that eventually became part of a larger home for a homeless veteran.
State School Superintendent Richard Woods (center) holds up a banner recognizing Cave Spring Elementary School as a STEM-certified school with fifth-graders Nicolas Deaton (right) and and Cortney Sellears.
State School Superintendent Richard Woods (standing, from left), North Heights Elementary School Principal Tonya Wood, Rome City Schools Superintendent Lou Byars, along with students Adela Cabrera (kneeling, from left), Bailey Booth, Lamaria Studyvent, Sain Aguado, Talynn Peek and Bailey Shooks pose with a banner recognizing North Heights for becoming STEM certified.
State School Superintendent Richard Woods unveils a floor mat with the help of Elm Street Elementary School sixthgraders Corey Gardhigh (left) and Jamar Chatman (right) while Principal JoAnn Moss watches during a ceremony in the gym.