115 Coweta County School System were honored for their efforts to bring Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education to their students, during the third annual Coweta County STEM symposium April 14.
The event was held at the Centre for Performing and Visual Arts, and booths and displays were set up to allow community members to sample the various STEM activities going on in schools.
“Robots to marshmallow catapults to Science Olympiad were presented,” said Dr. Donald White, Coweta County Schools Science Curriculum Specialist. White said that the annual event was designed to highlight the STEM activities that Coweta schools, teachers, and students are doing.
Several Coweta students spoke during the event, including East Coweta High School student and Coweta Advanced STEM Intern Jamie Moody, who shared her internship experience in the Piedmont Newnan Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Newnan High School student and Advanced STEM Intern Jermiah Russell student spoke about his internship experience at Crezent Marketing, where he wrote code for professional websites.
During the awards ceremony, 115 new Coweta STEM teachers were recognized. These teachers taught a minimum of five STEM lessons during the year, wrote them up, and shared their lessons and experience with other teachers in the district. Recognized teachers received a certificate and lapel pin for their efforts.
“Coweta now has more than 700 Coweta STEM recognized teachers,” said White. Five Coweta STEM schools were also recognized, including Glanton, Poplar Road, Thomas Crossroads, Welch, and White Oak Elementary Schools, which received a designation as a “Gold” Coweta STEM Schools.
Gold recognition is reserved for those schools with 60 percent or more of their school staff achieving Coweta STEM recognition. 23 of 31 Coweta schools are now recognized as Coweta STEM Schools.
Similarly, five Coweta “Distinguished” Teachers were recognized for demonstrating a commitment to STEM by participating in additional professional learning, coaching STEM competition teams (such as Science Olympiad or mentoring students in the state Technology Fair), or by training other teachers and administrators to implement STEM in their schools.
This year’s Distinguished STEM Teachers included Valerie Buchanan (Glanton), Valerie Mallon (White Oak), Kristin King (White Oak), Judie Hardin (Arbor Springs), and Paula Corley (White Oak).
White said that he wants “to dispel a myth about Coweta STEM. STEM is not about science, technology, engineering, or math. It’s about creativity, problem solving, and communication. All three of those components are skills that our local employers say they need every new employee to be proficient in.”
“Those skills are not reserved for academic classes,” said White. “They are prevalent in the Fine Arts, World Languages, and P.E.. Coweta STEM encourages teachers to reach beyond the traditional confines of the academic world to find connections wherever they may be. It’s an effort to engage students in meaningful activities that connect the students to their passions and motivate them to explore the world around them.”