Science, Technology, Engineering, Math
E. Coweta, consortium recognized for work
by Celia Shortt
East Coweta High School and the Coweta STEM Consortium have been recognized for their work to advance student achievement in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) and are finalists for the annual STEM Education Awards.
“We have encouraged our students — elementary, middle and high school — to really emphasize and innovate when it comes to the STEM disciplines,” said Coweta County School System Superintendent Dr. Steve Barker. “It’s important for the future workforce. We’re working to make sure we’re preparing our students for those jobs.”
East Coweta High School was named as one of six finalists for best STEM high school in Georgia. The Coweta STEM Consortium is a coalition of nine Coweta businesses that offer internships to Coweta County high school students in STEM-related fields. The consortium was named as one of seven finalists in the award program’s Business Outreach category.
“Our business communities have partnered with us well,” said Barker. “It was nice for those businesses that partner with us to be recognized in that way.”
The annual STEM Awards were created by the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) and the TAG Education Collaborative (TAG-Ed) to recognize and celebrate schools, extracurricular programs, public-private partnerships, science agencies and post-secondary education outreach programs in STEM education. Selection as a finalist for the annual awards recognizes leading initiatives and schools in Georgia that promote student achievement and support of science, technology, engineering, and math education in Georgia.
The winners for each award category will be announced in September.
East Coweta High School was nominated for a STEM Award this year based on the school’s sponsorship of several innova- tive STEM programs including East Coweta’s “Math and Science Academy,” the school’s Science Olympiad Team and efforts to expand student participation in STEM internships and STEM-related coursework.
ECHS chemistry teacher Martha Milam said the high school’s teachers and administrators are strongly involved in the development of STEM academic content and student opportunities. The school’s focus has increased student STEM participation significantly.
“I have taught at East Coweta High School for six years and in that short time I have seen dramatic improvement in all of our academics including STEM,” said Milam. “We offer a total of 17 AP courses and these classes are filling. The faculty has raised the expectation level we have for students, and students have risen to the challenge.”
“As another example, last year I taught 16 students in AP chemistry and this year we have 46 students taking the class,” Milam added. “They are eager to learn and they know STEM careers are growing and have high earning potential.”
The Coweta STEM Consortium came after Dr. Barker and school system charter school Central Educational Center CEO Mark Whitlock attended the 2012 TAG Awards and were encouraged by partner- ships with area businesses and industries.
“After listening to the award winners from around the state describe their partnerships with business and industry, I realized the Coweta County School System partnerships rival any from around the state,” said Barker. “It was after returning from the event that Mr. Whitlock and I challenged Donald White, our science content specialist, to prepare an application for these awards on behalf of the combined efforts of Newnan High School, Northgate High School, East Coweta High School, the Central Educational Center and our local business community.”
The programs in the Coweta STEM Consortium — operated through CEC’s work-study program — involve the placement of Coweta high school students in internship and apprenticeship positions at nine local companies including: Coweta Water and Sewerage Authority, Newnan Utilities, the Georgia Power Company, Grenzebach Corporation, Piedmont Newnan Hospital, Kason Industries, Hanger Prosthetics, Yokogawa Corporation of America, and Yamaha Motor Manufacturing Corporation.
The businesses also partner with the school system at all grade levels such as Newnan Utilities’ and Coweta Water and Sewerage Authority’s water conservation and education programs for county elementary schools and Yamaha Motor Manufacturing’s work with Coweta County high schools and middle schools.
“Teachers from our four high schools mentor students as they participate in internships in our local STEM business community. Local business and industry leaders provide real world STEM experiences for students while they earn high school credit,” said Barker. “The outstanding work of our teacher participants, Donald White’s excellent work and the commitment of our business and industry leaders to partner with our school system, make Coweta County worthy of this award.”
TAG’s mission is to educate, promote, influence and unite Georgia’s technology community to foster an innovative and connected marketplace that stimulates and enhances a tech-based economy. The association provides members with access to networking and educational programs, recognizes and promotes Georgia’s technology leaders and companies and advocates for legislative action that enhances the state’s economic climate for technology. Additionally, the TAG Education Collaborative (TAG’s charitable arm) focuses on helping science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education initiatives thrive.