Childersburg Middle School’s faculty is celebrating the success of recently earning STEM certification through AdvancEd. Childersburg Middle is the first school in the surrounding area to attain STEM certification through the worldwide AdvancEd accreditation agency. Currently, only seven other schools in Alabama are STEM-certified.

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. To become STEM-certified, a school must demonstrate that it uses STEM strategies across content areas and throughout the school, meeting the rigorous standards AdvancEd requires.

Principal Jena Jones said she’s proud of this accomplishment, giving credit to the teachers, students and the Childersburg community.

“This transformation has been a two-year journey,” Jones said. “We transformed our learning environment to  include a steam lab, known as The Grid. Teachers also created an Innovation Station and Collaboratory, two satellite STEAM labs, to support this collaborative work.”

STEM work at CMS engages students in hands-on learning through cross-curricular project-based learning that places a heavy focus on real-world problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity, technology integration, and collaboration. Students direct their own learning, while teachers facilitate that learning among students. Jones said STEM strategies fundamentally changed the way teachers teach at CMS. Teachers worked throughout the summer creating cross-curricular projects.

“Our school has been one-to-one with technology for several years,” Jones said. “Every  student has a computer device they use at school and at home to support their work. Childersburg Middle School has participated in the Dynamic Learning Project through Google and Digital Promise for two years, and this wonderful experience has allowed teachers to receive  quality professional development in integrating technology in impactful ways.”

The Dynamic Learning Project (DLP) is a program launched by Google and Digital Promise with the goal to increase the use of technology through instructional coaching. Childersburg Middle is one of 100 schools across the United States participating in the DLP.  

Technology Integration Specialist Ashley Gable said that achieving STEM certification is an honor and a testament to the hard work and dedication of the faculty in crafting meaningful learning experiences for students.

Jones said the goal is to create opportunities to allow students to develop the necessary skills they’ll need in the future.   

Assistant Principal Jason Jacks noted the value of the broader partnerships involved.

“One of the most important aspects of attaining STEM certification is the support and involvement of community partnerships,” he said, “which promotes college and career readiness.”

Superintendent Dr. Suzanne Lacey applauded the efforts of Childersburg Middle teachers.

“The school serves as an exemplary model for excellence in STEM education by providing students with cutting-edge techniques and resources,” she said. “The school has been transformed into a high-tech and collaborative learning environment, which promotes the use of STEM concepts in every area of the curriculum. Principal Jena Jones and Assistant Principal Jason Jacks are exceptional leaders and are to be commended for establishing a culture of engagement.”

Lacey said all 17 schools in the Talladega County School District are working toward achieving STEM certification through AdvancEd.