STEM Designation Available for Qualified Tennessee Schools

The Tennessee STEM School Designation process, developed under the guidance of the Tennessee Department of Education STEM Leadership Council as a component of the state’s STEM Strategic Plan, was created to provide a road map for integrating STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) strategies into their instruction and design and to recognize schools for their use of promising practices. STEM education exemplifies a non-traditional approach to education—employing inquiry and project/problem-based learning, building community partnerships, creating student-centered classrooms, and increasing student exposure to STEM careers and professionals. These practices help students become independent and reflective thinkers, effective collaborators, and problem solvers who can innovate Tennessee’s future.

The Tennessee STEM Innovation Network is managing the STEM School Designation process and will be working with schools as they scale up in areas to meet the designation priorities. These priority areas are broken down into STEM attributes that focus on school leadership as the driver for change, professional capacity of faculty and staff, student-centered learning climate, and community partnerships.

To become a STEM Designated School, applicants will go through a rigorous application and review process outlined here. All K–12 schools, public and private, serving students in Tennessee are eligible to apply for designation. The application cycle for the 2017-2018 school year is currently open and closes Sept. 30.

Schools that attain STEM Designation will serve as model schools for the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network and will be called upon to share promising practices with others and help drive continued innovation in education. By recognizing STEM schools, the number of Tennessee graduates who are prepared to enter college or careers and are empowered to be global citizens should increase. This is an exciting opportunity to transform teaching and learning to meet the needs of the future.

STEM education exemplifies a non-traditional approach to education—employing inquiry and project/problem based learning, building community partnerships, creating student-centered classrooms, and increasing student exposure to STEM careers and professionals. These practices help students become independent and reflective thinkers, effective collaborators, and problem solvers that can innovate Tennessee’s future.

This post was originally published on SCORE Sheet, the blog for the State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE).