Georgia Schools Honored at Fourth Annual STEM Education Awards

Staff Report From Metro Atlanta CEO

Friday, September 18th, 2015

The Technology Association of Georgia and the TAG Education Collaborative announced the winners for the fourth annual STEM Education awards at a special ceremony held in Atlanta Friday night.  These awards were created to recognize and celebrate schools, extracurricular programs, public-private partnerships, science agencies and post-secondary education outreach programs for outstanding efforts and achievement in supporting and promoting science, technology, engineering, and math education in Georgia. More than 300 members of the technology and education community were on hand at the event which was sponsored by Georgia Tech Research Institute, Cisco, and Promethean.

“High-tech careers are some of the most in-demand and highest paying jobs in our country and the anticipated shortage of employees is staggering,” said Amanda Hendley, Chief Operating Officer for TAG. “Our 2015 STEM Education Award winners are the best of the best and are making a major impact on workforce development in Georgia.”

The following are the winners for the 2015 awards.

Elementary School - Drew Charter School, Atlanta
The Elementary Engineering Program at Drew Charter School makes STE(A)M visible throughout the campus and community. Students engage in solving real world problems in teams with real world tools and real world users. Students participate in Engineering class with projects like designing and building their own playground, but also outside class-time during the school-wide STEAM Day. On STEAM Day this year, teams of students developed Frisbee Golf Baskets that stood-up to real users during DESIGNORAMA (our community festival). The Engineering Program plans DESIGNORAMA, STEAM Day, and Design Career Day to keep students engaged even if they are not currently enrolled.
Middle School - Marietta Middle School, Marietta
Marietta Middle School students participated in the first ever, STEM Expo. Magnet students showcased their culminating, collaborative projects aligned to math and science standards. Participants journeyed through food sustainability research and proposals, as well as, food distribution and policy issues. They relived Grow gardens through time-lapsed videography. Participants also imaginatively rode 3-Dimensional prototypes of various amusement park rides. There were circular rides, non-linear rides, linear rides and even a water ride. Magnet students followed the engineering design process to design, construct, and test amusement park rides at school. The STEM Expo was planned by Technology Student Association members.
High School - Lithia Springs High School, Lithia Springs
The Lithia Springs High School STEM Academy is a magnet program in Douglas County providing pathways in Engineering, Biomedical Science, and Computer Science. The Lithia Springs High School STEM Academy thrives on a foundation of Rigor, Support, Service, and Experience. At LSHS students in the STEM Academy remain engaged through a high level of rigor ensured by quality teachers, effective instruction, cross-curricular planning, competitive courses of study, and technology-driven, academically-based extra-curricular activities. The rigor is accompanied by service learning projects, continual student support, and quality internships. Lithia Springs STEM Academy strives to improve the world via science and service.
Post-Secondary Outreach - Atlanta Science Festival, Atlanta
The Atlanta Science Festival engages curious people of all ages in a celebration of our local science community, and the ways science, technology, engineering, and mathematics help us to better understand and improve our world. The 2nd annual Festival reached 45,000 people at 134 events from March 21­28, 2015. Organized by a coalition of 146 partners, the Festival brings together colleges, K-12 schools, museums, businesses, and community organizations to celebrate the opportunities for STEM education, careers, and innovation in the metro-Atlanta region. The Festival culminated in Atlanta’s biggest interactive family science day for 17,000 people at Centennial Olympic Park.
Extracurricular Program - Sandy Springs Education Force/GTRI STEM Event, Sandy Springs
Sandy Springs Education Force partnered with Georgia Tech Research Institute to bring the Fifth Annual SSEF STEM event to the eleven Sandy Springs public schools in March 2015 impacting over 2000 students. The opening event took place at North Springs Charter High School in which over 900 students viewed over 20 STEM Communication Technology focused exhibits. In the evening, over 300 community and business leaders participated in the event. This program was followed by outreach STEM events, field trips and programs in our feeder schools. SSEF then offered grant opportunities to our schools for ongoing afterschool STEM clubs and programs.
STEM Day Activity - Isle of Hope K-8, Savannah
Isle of Hope K-8 has expanded and improved our award-winning STEM program to include cross-curricular courses and enrichment activities under the umbrella of our Center for Design and Technology. Because we have evolved a multi-faceted STEaM program by incorporating our already outstanding fine arts classes, hundreds of excited students are learning coding, game design, video filming and editing, 3D modeling and animation, digital graphics, robotics, music, band, and art. Additionally, regular STEM “Career Days” are held where dozens of business and community partners contribute career presentations and hands-on learning experiences to further enhance student engagement and vocational awareness.
STEM Certified School Outreach - Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology, Gwinnett
The Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology attempts to nurture the talents and high potential of all students through a rigorous, STEM-focused curriculum that includes a four-year internship experience and numerous opportunities for outreach, community service, and learning beyond our campus.  From partnerships with businesses and local elementary schools, to school tours and visits from students and adult across the globe, GSMST strives to help all students learn, grow, and appreciate the world around them.
Corporate Outreach - Georgia Power Company – East Region Corporate Outreach, Augusta
Georgia Power – East Region Corporate Outreach implements our Education and Workforce Development programs by focusing on two components, integration and initiation. The integration component leverages existing state and national programs to build local career awareness and educational programs for the next generations of energy workers. Initiation develops programs that target Georgia Power’s specific needs in building our workforce pipeline.  By using a two phase approach we are able to grow and sustain corporate outreach programs that are specifically developed to increase STEM education with local education partners.
“We applaud each of this year’s finalists for their extraordinary efforts to bolster awareness about the importance of STEM and for their hard work to increase student participation in science, technology, engineering and math programs,” said Michael Robertson, director of TAG-Ed. “We are pleased to showcase so many great schools, programs and organizations that are helping to develop a strong future workforce for our state.”