How to become a STEM School of Distinction

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  • Time is running out to apply to be a North Carolina STEM School of Distinction. What is this recognition about? Learn more here.

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Each year the Department of Public Instruction and the State Board of Education recognize North Carolina schools that embed STEM instruction into the standards and daily lives of their students. This designation is known as a STEM School of Distinction and interested schools must complete their intent to apply no later than October 7, 2022.

DPI believes that these schools “represent the best in STEM education in North Carolina.” Elementary, middle and high schools are all eligible to apply.

Do you think your school falls into this category, but don’t know where to start? Check out the STEM School Progress Rubric, which serves as a self-assessment tool for recognition.

This rubric focuses on five overarching principles: opportunities for students, classroom climate, school structure, school culture, and community connections.

The STEM Recognition Application Form for the 2022-23 school year can be found here.

STEM School of Distinction Application Timeline

Taken from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction website.

For more information about the application process, visit the STEM Education and Leadership home page or contact DPI STEM Consultant Howard Ginsburg at 984-236-2844.

Inside a STEM School of Distinction

The NC STEM School of Distinction program began during the 2014-2015 school year with 11 schools. Thirty-six schools are now on this list. Want to see what the inside of these schools looks like?

Sidney Ramsey and Katelynn Walters are 10th graders at Greene Central High School showing off their Biology Grand Challenge project. They developed an affordable air filtration system for Brazil to detect COVID-19. They researched Brazil’s health system, history, and economy to create an affordable system that could be scaled. Caroline Parker/NC Education

How do you catch a ghost in a house? At Henderson Elementary School, an NC STEM School of Distinction, you build one out of Legos. This is a Halloween themed STEM design project. Caroline Parker/NC Education
At Green Central High School in the basic and sustainable construction class, they created this arcade game. The class used all the items that were already in the store and a Raspberry Pi computer. The only thing that was purchased for the build were the controls. Caroline Parker/NC Education

Combining mosaic standards and teaching modern pixel usage, this Rubik’s cube project is popular every year in art class. “Honestly (the Rubik’s cube project), it’s a success for them. That’s the most important thing to me, is that they can solve a problem that they don’t know what to do and in a very short time they have great success,” said Ashley Shiosaky, an art teacher at Greene Central High School. . Time-lapse courtesy of Ashley Shiosaky.

Caroline Parker

Caroline Parker is a Multimedia Storyteller for EducationNC. She covers the stories of rural North Carolina, the arts, and STEM education.

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