CCSD Earns International Recognition for STEM Programs
The Cherokee County School District has earned international recognition for its STEM programs!
The school district has worked for more than a year to gain STEM certification for 11 of its schools from Cognia, the international educational organization that accredits CCSD as a whole.
All of CCSD’s middle schools, Woodstock High School and R.M. Moore ES, Knox ES and Ball Ground ES STEM Academies underwent the challenging application and review process, and all received recommendations for certification approval. School and CCSD leaders heard outstanding initial reports from Cognia’s review team over the past week, and will receive official certification and a full report from Cognia this summer.
To earn STEM certification, schools must demonstrate success in four main areas: STEM Community, STEM Learning Culture, STEM Experiences and STEM Outcomes. Within each area, there are specific standards to be met, such as providing students with high-quality, inquiry- based, collaborative and self-guided STEM lessons; providing teachers with ongoing STEM professional development; offering students extra-curricular STEM activities such as clubs and competitive teams; and engaging STEM related businesses as involved school partners.
Schools demonstrate this excellence through significant documentation, which is vetted and then verified through in-person site visits by a Cognia review team. CCSD’s efforts to seek this certification were led by the Office of Curriculum and Instruction’s Chief Academic Officer Dr. Nicole H. Holmes and her team. CCSD Curriculum Coordinator Dr. Erin Jacobs, who oversees STEM learning, worked closely with schools to improve their STEM instruction and programs and meet certification requirements. The school district plans to seek STEM accreditation for additional schools in the future.
“STEM learning prepares our students for future success, no matter their career path, due to its focus on improving problem solving and critical thinking skills,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said. “We’re incredibly proud of this recognition and of the teachers, support staff, administrators and community partners who worked together to achieve this certification. It’s the most prestigious seal of approval for STEM instruction in schools and the process to earn it helped our schools, and our district as a whole, further enhance our programs. Congratulations and thank you to all who made this achievement possible!”