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Prescott South Designated As Two-Time STEM School

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Prescott South Designated As Two-Time STEM School

Prescott South Elementary received its second designation as a STEM school from the State Department of Education.

Principal Catherine Jones said the title based on the school’s performance in integrating STEM-based concepts in different ways throughout the past five years. Jones said she is proud of the teachers, but is happiest for the students.

“They just think like engineers,” Jones said. “They live in a world that can be improved, and so they think in a way – they think in a design process way, and I personally wasn’t raised that way. I wasn’t raised by an engineer, and I so I think it’s a fabulous way for a child to grow up. It builds their self-esteem.”

Jones said they have been living the engineering design process and are continually trying to improve their practices. She said the focus on STEM concepts helps children learn what they are good at and gives them more reason to appreciate their education.

“Often it’s like, it’s like something you have to do, not something you get to do, and we’re very fortunate to have free public education in the United States,” Jones said.

Jones said the system also makes education more fun for students. Jones said the designation based on performance in infrastructure, curriculum and instruction, professional development, achievement, and community and post-secondary partnerships.

“Generally they enjoy if we have a dedicated – maybe a process where they’re doing a prototype or where they’re applying it to a real-world problem,” Jones said. “The students enjoy those types of lessons. Really what it does is it helps us have the confidence to develop partnerships to provide additional opportunities for students.”

Jones said the school’s first STEM designation came in 2018, the year the program began. Jones said she wants to emphasize that their integration of STEM practices is supplemental to their main goals as a school.

“Our focus in Putnam County in elementary schools is reading, math, science, and social studies,” Jones said. “We want students to learn the soft skills of, you know, working collaboratively, showing up for school every day, all the things that an employer would want a student to have. And so please don’t mistake that STEM would be our focus. Our focus is the fundamental education to prepare kids for middle school and high school. These are additional elements, and they’re woven within our primary goal of the academics.”


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