Atlanta elementary school grabs national STEM distinction

If there is one thing that the pandemic underscored, it’s that the most stable jobs came from science, technology, engineering and math - STEM careers.

An Atlanta public school is giving its student more than a head start by starting real-world problem solving in elementary school in a nationally recognized STEM program.

Buckhead's Warren T. Jackson Elementary School becomes only the second school in the nation to hold both international baccalaureate and STEM certifications. 

And you can see how a project works before you even enter the building. 

Laura Dostie is the school’s STEM coordinator.

"The second grade did one on redesigning the carpool situation and bus lanes. And the funny part is the ideas they came up with we implemented this year due to COVID protocols and needing to change our carpools."

This Atlanta public school has a rare spot in academic circles. And so does DeKalb County’s Midvale Elementary school. 

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It’s a heavy load, but APS Principal Brent McBride says his teachers are passionate about creating critical thinkers who can problem solve.

"With our STEM certification we are teaching our students how to think, using the components of science, technology, engineering and math. When you look at jobs of the future we found those are components that employers are looking for."

"We have state-of-the-art facilities. We have a maker’s space where the students tinker, build, and create prototypes," Ms. Dostie added. "We have a collaboratory where the students know when I enter this space they know, ‘I am collaborating. I am working as a team to solve problems.'"

The students have hands-on involvement learning about habitats by raising trout from eggs to juveniles in the Small Fry to Go program. And, they actually supply trout for the Chattahoochee River.

And when you’re raising fish, or popping off rockets, science, math, and engineering look like pretty fun ways to make a living one day.

"We were looking for ways to not only prepare our students, but to challenge our students for the future. We were looking for ways to take them to the next level," said Principal McBride. 

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