The North Carolina State Board of Education recognized Yadkin Valley Regional Career Academy in early September as an NC STEM School of Distinction for its exemplary leadership and instruction in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.
“Students in all schools will graduate into a world where STEM skills already are highly valued,” Johnson said. “These schools are helping to lead the way with exemplary instruction that’s preparing students to succeed and thrive in that world.”
The STEM Recognition Program was developed by NCDPI in partnership with representatives from schools, business and industry, and postsecondary institutions as a way to identify and recognize schools with outstanding STEM programs. The application process rubric is built around NCDPI’s STEM Attributes, which describe characteristics of a high-quality STEM school. Yadkin Valley Regional Career Academy was recognized for Model Level of Achievement, which performs the attributes to the highest standard as measured by the rubric used to in the STEM recognition program.
Since the program was started in 2014, a total of 29 public schools have earned STEM recognition.
The rigorous application process required:
- Detailed responses and evidence addressing each of the 11 attributes of quality STEM education and more than 40 key elements that define the quality characteristics rooted within the attributes;
- A self-assessment of the school aligning to the attribute implementation rubric; and
- Identification of their best practice of educational excellence.
To receive this honor, schools designated as STEM Schools of Distinction are rooted in a culture where creativity and inquiry exist among students, teachers, administrators, and community members. The schools also emphasize engaging students in a way of innovation and problem solving to seek solutions and collaborative teamwork. Additionally, schools have established a network of community relationships and strategies that foster purposeful connections between student studies and the world outside their classroom.