KHS STEM Academy receives certification | New
Stem Academy at Kokomo High School has been named one of 14 schools in seven districts in Indiana to receive STEM certification from the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE).
STEM-certified schools prioritize subjects such as science, technology, engineering, and math. Schools should also offer a non-traditional approach to education using tools such as inquiry, project-based learning, community engagement, entrepreneurship, student-centered classes and extra-curricular STEM activities. .
“I salute the dedication, creativity and commitment of the teachers and administrators at Kokomo High School STEM Academy, whose work has resulted in STEM certification,” said Dr. Mike Sargent, Superintendent of Kokomo School Corp . He thanked the teachers for collaborating across disciplines and providing students with projects based on real-life experiences.
The STEM Academy was launched six years ago. Staff members worked each year to build a program that met IDOE guidelines for certification.
“Our teachers have worked countless hours to learn and develop their STEM program to provide our students with an exceptional educational experience,” said KHS Director Angela Blessing.
The STEM program is also part of the special education program. Students in Temberly Rinker’s Transitions Science class regularly use two greenhouses, two ecosystem aquariums, and a hydroponic tower garden to plant, care for, and harvest plants throughout the school year.
“Learning at STEM Academy is very different from traditional classroom teaching,” said Rinker. “STEM Academy students are encouraged to try new things, and failures are seen as a starting point for future success. “
A new Maker Space, which opened last spring, also supports STEM education. The space is equipped with a laser cutter and 3D printer and allows students to work on projects that require sewing, construction, and welding.
STEM Academy is supported by a partnership with Purdue University, which administers the GEAR UP grants program at KHS. GEAR UP aims to increase the number of students who are ready to enter and succeed in post-secondary education, while conducting research to better understand student learning in STEM.
The grant assists the STEM Academy by providing money for STEM resources, staff professional development, and an after-school STEM program for students.
Maple Crest STEM Middle School, which achieved its original STEM certification in 2016, also recently achieved recertification status from the IDOE.
“We continued to improve our curricula and build on existing partnerships with community organizations,” said Director Tom Hughes. “We now have 100% of our students participating in STEM projects throughout the school year. “