SJHS Recognized by COGNIA as STEM Certified School
Sheffield Junior High School Principal Stephanie Wieseman said her school’s STEM certification shows what a small school can accomplish when students and administrators work together to improve the overall educational experience.
“This accomplishment shows that our little Title One school is meeting the same standards as others, and that you don’t have to be a big school with tons of resources at your disposal to provide opportunities, skills for your students to succeed,” Wieseman said.
The STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) certification was more than a year in the making. It came as the result of staff and students building on what Wieseman called “a methodology already at play in our school.”
“Some schools set out to be STEM certified with that as the goal, but we looked at what the teachers and kids were good at and realized our kids are great problem solvers,” Wieseman said.
“Our teachers have really changed their methods of teaching to take on the needs of the kids in our building, and that made earning this certification not only doable, but a must.”
Wieseman said everyone at her school works together to incorporate science, math, language and social studies in as many study projects as possible.
To get STEM certified, the school had to demonstrate mastery of 64 standards.
In 2018, the Winfield School District earned the distinction to become the first in the nation to have every school certified in STEM. Winfield’s superintendent at the time, Keith Davis, is now Sheffield’s superintendent.
“I believe a strong STEM curriculum is vital to the 21st century classroom,”Davis said. “My goal is for our other schools to do this as well. Though COVID threw us a little behind, I believe we can accomplish it, districtwide, within three years.”
Davis said the greatest advantage to STEM certification is at the secondary level. Students begin to realize that their skill sets open up job opportunities in many fields.
“To be able to put this on a resume in high school, whether for a job or upon entry to college, is a huge advantage for our students,” Davis said.