Two more APS schools have earned Cognia STEM certification!
South Atlanta High School and Humphries Elementary School received their certification by meeting a set of rigorous standards.
Cognia is a non-profit organization focused on improving educational opportunities for all learners. It provides measurable guides for improvement in the schools. To obtain the Cognia STEM certification, schools are measured in four categories related to STEM: community, learning culture, experiences, and outcomes.
Brene` E. Bradley, EdD, CTAE/STEM coordinator with the APS Office of Career, Technical and Agricultural Education, said the Cognia evaluation team stated that South Atlanta High School is “an exemplary school with systems that should be modeled by other schools.” South Atlanta also earned commendations for being STEM-minded and having a true culture of learning.
“To say that I am proud of the students, faculty and staff would be a huge understatement,” said South Atlanta High School Principal, Dr. Patricia Ford, adding that the faculty and staff of South Atlanta recognize and value the importance of STEM education and “will continue to meet the needs of this community of scholars by nurturing students’ intrinsic motivation for learning and a belief in the students’ desire to surpass conventional expectations.”
Dr. Bradley said that South Atlanta started the journey of STEM implementation as a “program model” serving students who self-selected into the program. Over the years, Dr. Ford saw the benefits that STEM offered those students. As a result, in 2020, the decision was made to expand STEM education to the entire student body. “We have endured a number of challenges including a global pandemic, but we remained encouraged by what a quality STEM education could mean for students in our community,” concluded South Atlanta High School STEM coordinator, Andrea Miller.
Making STEM learning available to everyone is a key part of the certification process at each school. Starting the children at the elementary level helps bridge the learning gap when it comes to STEM because it exposes students to concepts at an early age. That is just one of the reasons why STEM certification was a high priority for Principal Jaron Trimble.
Regarding Humphries, Dr. Bradley said that the school was commended by the Cognia evaluation for making sure all students were included in STEM activities. The school was also praised for providing ongoing extensive professional learning for teachers and for providing students with a “welcoming environment where STEM doesn’t happen in a vacuum.”