District ‘perfect’ on STEM certification

District ‘perfect’ on STEM certification
Posted on 09/20/2016
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Tuesday, September 20, 2016


Two additional schools earn STEM certification,
maintaining district’s 100 percent approval record


BEAUFORT – Two additional Beaufort County School district schools have earned prestigious certifications in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics instruction following on-site visits by outside review teams.

Okatie Elementary School and River Ridge Academy are the newest district schools to earn STEM Certification from AdvancED, a non-profit organization that provides on-site external reviews of PreK-12 schools and school systems around the world.

Four district schools earned AdvancED STEM certification in 2015:  Beaufort Elementary, Michael C. Riley Elementary and Pritchardville Elementary schools and Lady’s Island Middle School.

“This latest news means that the district’s perfect record is intact,” said Superintendent Jeff Moss.  “All six schools that have sought STEM certification have achieved it, and that’s a powerful affirmation of the quality of their instruction and the dedication of their staffs.”

Darrell Barringer, AdvancED’s state director, said that six of South Carolina’s 17 current STEM-certified schools are in Beaufort County, twice the number of schools in any other district.

“We’re very pleased with Beaufort County’s commitment to quality STEM instruction,” Barringer said.   

AdvancED touts its STEM Certification as “the first internationally recognized mark of quality for STEM schools and programs, signaling the growing emphasis placed on STEM education by educators, politicians and business leaders around the world.”

AdvancED requires applying schools to meet its STEM Certification standards as reflected by their performance across 11 rigorous indicators.  The process is supported by research-based tools and resources, and AdvancEd says that high evaluation scores mean that students in those schools are equipped and trained to be innovative, creative and systematic problem-solvers across disciplines.

AdvancED reviewers examine each school’s evidence of quality STEM education that the schools provided to the review team beforehand, and on-site classroom observations then focus on identifying student engagement and collaboration in the learning process.  Reviewers also interview key stakeholders such as school administrators, teachers and staff, parents, students and external partners to verify the school’s commitment to connecting students’ STEM experiences in the classroom to the local community and the world at large.