NEWS RELEASES 2014-15 :: NOVEMBER 18, 2014

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The North Carolina State Board of Education recently recognized 12 public schools for their exemplary leadership and instruction in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education. These schools were the first set of schools to be recognized under the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction’s (NCDPI) STEM Recognition Program.

The STEM Recognition Program was developed by the NCDPI in partnership with representatives from schools, business and industry, and postsecondary institutions as a way to identify and recognize exemplary STEM schools and STEM programs. The application process rubric is built around the NCDPI’s STEM Attributes, which describe characteristics of a high quality STEM school.

Schools were either recognized as meeting the Model Level of Achievement or the Prepared Level of Achievement. Regardless of the status, all of the schools exemplify outstanding leadership and learning, which empower keen creative thinking, reasoning and teamwork – the underpinnings of 21st century skills. This is in addition to implementing the essential STEM Attributes needed to successful in today’s society. Schools recognized under the Model Level of Achievement go even further by systemically interweaving science, technology, engineering and mathematics into complementary courses in the Arts, Career and Technical Education, English Language Arts, and World History.

State Superintendent June Atkinson congratulated the recipients saying, “So many of the careers that await students after high school and college graduation are in STEM fields. The quality of STEM instruction provided to students will shape their success in these careers.”

One school met the Model Level of Achievement:

  • Exploris Charter Middle, Wake County

Eleven schools met the Prepared Level of Achievement:

  • Brunswick Early College High, Brunswick County Schools
  • J.N. Fries Magnet Middle, Cabarrus County Schools
  • Elkin Middle School, Elkin City Schools
  • Greene Central High, Greene County Schools
  • STEM Early College at NC A&T, Guilford County Schools
  • Contentnea-Savannah K-8, Lenoir County Schools
  • J Sam Gentry Middle, Surry County Schools
  • Brentwood Elementary School of Engineering, Wake County Schools
  • Wayne School of Engineering at Goldsboro High, Wayne County Schools
  • Atkins Academic & Technology High, Winston-Salem/Forsyth Schools
  • Hanes Magnet Middle, Winston-Salem/Forsyth Schools

Overall, 21 applications were submitted for possible recognition. Schools pursuing recognition underwent a rigorous application process that required:

  • detailed responses and evidences addressing each of the 11 attributes of quality STEM education and over 34 key elements that define the quality characteristics rooted within the attributes;
  • a self assessment of their school aligning to the Attribute Implementation rubric; and
  • identification of one best practice of educational excellence.

These criteria, along with reviewers’ consensus and a site visit, led to the designations. Each school received a certificate in honor of their recognition at the November State Board of Education meeting. For more information on the NCDPI Stem Recognition Program, visit

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 160 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.

For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.